Ukraine should aim to make occupation of Donbas as painful as possible – expert

James Sherr. Photo: 


Russia has moved to the next stage of hybrid war, James Sherr, Associate Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Chatham House think tank, told at the 10th Kyiv Security Forum, which was held during 6-7 April.

According to him, the first stage was Novorossiya, which ended in 2014. Its assumption, however, still survives.

The second strategy, which is coming to an end now, was the Minsk agreements. In them, the Kremlin’s goal was to force Ukraine with the help of Germany and France to reintegrate the occupied territories on terms inconsistent with Ukraine’s sovereignty. It has now concluded that this is not the be achieved.

Mr. Sherr emphasized that Ukraine’s Normandy partners, France and Germany, had been criticized for not being enough robust, but they had nonetheless not given in to Russian pressure and not accepted the Russian blueprint for Donbas.

According to him, now is the beginning of a new strategy – the strategy of separation, and it has already started in the separation of enterprises and economies which were related in the sphere of energy – a consequence of the improvised trade blockade which was run by Ukrainian activists for over a month until it led to the Russian proxy “republics” in Donbas announcing a “nationalization” of Ukrainian factories, and Ukraine announcing an official blockade in return. The whole incident raised many ethical issues related to Ukraine’s trade with Russia’s proxy states  which were de facto in a state of war with it, and revealed that oligarchs profited from the status quo.

Read more: Donbas “republics” seize Ukrainian assets blaming blockade

Ukraine would have had less problems had it pursued a strategy of energy and economy, replacing a clan-based system on a rules based system, Mr.Sherr says. If Ukraine had imposed a blockade first, it would have the upper hand, as it would have taken the initiative. Now Russia still retains its strategic patience that Ukraine will give in and fall apart.

There will be no return of these territories on goals that Ukraine can accept, Mr.Sherr is convinced. Therefore, Ukraine’s aim is to make the occupation of these territories as painful as possible for Russia.

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  1. Avatar Alex George says:

    Mr Sherr realises the true nature of the Putin regime, which is great to see.

    But I don’t think he fully acknowledges the issues that Ukraine faces. There are many at all levels in Ukraine, but particularly in government, who would rather return to Ukraine’s heritage of Soviet corrruption. It’s more profitable for them.

    Yes, reform is what Ukraine needs, but it faces major internal obstacles in doing so. It needs a lot of assistance from the West to do so, not necessarily money, as the Ukrainian economy is starting to recover from Russian aggression against it.

    1. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

      Moldova is helping in a small way by extraditing a corrupt Ukrainian judge who had fled the country to escape prosecution:

      The prosecutors should now throw the book at him, and hopefully he will be sentenced to a long term behind bars, plus of course confiscation of his ill-gotten gains and a HEAVY fine for tax fraud- it’s highly unlikely that he reported his hidden $$$$ and other loot on his income tax returns. There is no chance of his being reinstated as a judge even if he manages to escape punishment so that’s one crooked judge less.

    2. Avatar Andrew Chmile says:

      SHUDD-UP!!! Ruski ***MOLE*** & **LIAR** .

      Still backing-up “Vasyl P.” (weasel pee) ?? 🙂


      “Vasyl P.” — Ruski MOLE. — LIAR!!

      — A “TRUMP SUPPORTER” :)))

      HE IS A RUSKI **MOLE** & “moderator” of a RUSKI MOLE-TROLL SITE — with SPUTNIK & VARIOUS




      __IMPERIAL NEWS NETWORK__ etc.. BS “Disqus Channels”

      (FREE!! CHEAP!!!)

      Right-wing freedom fighter; pro-democracy, anti-corruption, anti-feminazis, anti-fascist,

      Russian, Ukrainian, American


      Has claimed in the past to be Ukrainian & American.

      IS NEITHER!!

      SPOKE RUSKI AT ME — Thinking I would (or should?!?!) understand that DOG BARK & GROWL

      LANGUAGE 🙂

      “Larissa” a “MODERATOR” MOLE/TROLL & the OTHER SCUM — will ALL tell you how “Larissa” —


      A-A-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-E-E-E-eeeeeee!!!!! 🙂

      Another RUSKI SKANK — whined about being “RAPED”!!! as per her Disqus home page no less!!!! :))

      — she deleted it after I repeatedly posted & laughed at her DUM RUSKI @SS!!! :))

      The STUPID RUSKA ‘HO !!! :)))

      1. Avatar Alex George says:

        Here is Andrew the putin troll again – you don’t like me talking about Russian aggression, do you!

        Nor do you like me pointing out that some Ukrainian officials want a return to soviet corruption, since that is what you want.

        You have been thrown off numerous pro-Ukrainian blogs as the owners worked out who you really support.

  2. Avatar Murf says:

    Been saying the same thing since Illoviansk.
    Now cut the gas, electricity and water.
    No reason Ukraine should foot the bill for the occupied territories.
    Make Russia’s prize as costly as possible until they choke on it.

    1. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

      Agreed. The unofficial coal blockade which was later made official is a good start. Now that the so-called LNR and DNR no longer receive money from Kyiv for the coal Moscow will have to make up the shortfall.
      Cutting gas, electricity and water immediately may be a bit more difficult as in some cases towns receive water and/or electricity from the occupied territories. Rerouting electricity and water supplies will take time but it can be done. As I understand it gas flows only from free Ukrainian territory to the so-called LNR and DNR, not vice versa, so cutting off the gas flow should be fairly easy. The dwarf will then have to lay new pipelines to supply gas to the LNR and DNR which will cost umpteen rubbles, as will the gas itself- Kyiv will no longer be paying for that.

    2. Avatar Tony says:

      I totally agree. Donbass should only go back to Ukraine once the people there throughly understand that the russian system of kleptocracy is a dead end and they gain the will to fight for a western system of democracy and transparency. Until then, they are on they’re own and they will realize that russia doesn’t even care about them.

      1. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

        I think many- though not all- of the inhabitants of the so-called DNR and LNR realise that, but these territories are Dwarfstanian dictatorships, as are Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and the Crimea. The ordinary people have no influence whatsoever.

        Even Girkin openly admits that the LNR and DNR leaders are little more than criminals and one can hardly accuse Girkin of being pro-Kyiv.