Protests against Steinmeier’s formula spread in Ukraine, “movement against capitulation” founded

The protest against Steinmeier's formula at Maidan Nezalezhnosti on 2 October 2019. Photo: fb of Volodymyr Ariev 

War in the Donbas

On 2 October 2019, protests against Steinmeier’s formula continued in Ukraine.

Having erupted a day earlier in response to news that ex-President Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine’s representative to the Trilateral Contact Group, had signed the formula which outlines that the law on the “special status” of regions of Donbas occupied by Russia will come into effect after elections are held there. Hailed by some western representatives and experts as a “breakthrough” in peace negotiations, the event is seen by many in Ukraine as a capitulation to Russia in the Donbas conflict. The fact that Ukrainian officials do not bring any clarity as to how they plan to achieve a Russian withdrawal from Donbas prior to elections, an event they claim will definitely precede the elections, does not help much.

Protests against Ukraine’s agreement to Steinmeier’s formula continued in Kyiv on Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Participants of the protest estimated there were from 2,000 to 5,000 protesters present at the event.

Protests in Kyiv on Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Photo: censor.net.ua

Protests in Kyiv on Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Photo: censor.net.ua

As well, activists gathered near the President’s Office.

Protests near the President’s Office in Kyiv. Photo: Oleksiy Honcharenko

Altogether, the organizers of the protests named 19 cities in which protests were to take place in their facebook event, spanning from the western Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk to eastern Zaporizhzhia and Kramatorsk. Here is Kharkiv:

Protests in Kharkiv. Photo: Kateryna Yaresko

Protests in Kharkiv. Photo: Kateryna Yaresko

And Kramatorsk, where around 200 are said to have participated.

Protest in Kramatorsk. Photo: snapshot from video

And even Sieverodonetsk, only dozens of kilometers away from occupied Donbas.

Here are protests in the west-Ukrainian city of Lviv:

Initiatives against Steinmeier’s Formula were not limited to protests. The Ternopil Oblast Council adopted an appeal to “prevent the capitulation of Ukraine.” As well, the Lviv Oblast Council appealed to President Zelenskyy, saying that it’s impermissible to withdraw Ukrainian Armed Forces from the contact line in Donbas, one of the steps Zelenskyy presented as key for achieving peace in the Donbas, and stating that the recent attempts at such a withdrawal have not been successful:

The president’s presentation of the withdrawal of the army on the region of the contact line near Stanytsia Luhanska as a successful example of such a withdrawal on 01.10.2019 doesn’t correspond to reality, as representatives of the Russian Federation’s occupation administration did not implement a single demand of the Trilateral contact group and the life and safety of the residents of that settlement are in serious danger.”

Also in Lviv, the opening of a “Headquarters of defense of Ukraine” was announced on 2 October. The chief of staff of the Ukrainian National Corps political party Sviatoslav Siryi told that the headquarters would promptly react to situations in the city and coordinate transport of activists to Kyiv if there will be such a need.

Movement against capitulation

As well, a movement against capitulation has been launched, with the signatories including Volodymyr Vasylenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, former political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh, Soviet dissident Iosif Zissels, honorary president of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy Viacheslav Bryukhovetskyi, prominent Ukrainian political scientists and activists.

.”..resistance to the capitulatory actions of today’s authorities requires uniting and mobilizing efforts of the entire Ukrainian society, every Ukrainian worldwide, all of our allies. To do this, it is necessary to unite in a broad movement against the surrender of Ukraine, which would unite all indifferent people. To this end, we are initiating the launch of the MOVEMENT of RESISTANCE TO CAPITULATION network. …

We call on all state forces – in the Verkhovna Rada and outside the Parliament – to consolidate their efforts and avoid fighting. Now we must unite in one task – to warn the President of Ukraine of humiliating defeat.

The attainment of true peace, not of shame, cannot be accomplished on the basis of ‘formulas’ and ‘agreements’ that contradict the Constitution, the principles of international law, and the national interests of Ukraine. Our demands and proposals to Volodymyr Zelenskyy were made public in the “We will not allow capitulation!” petition dated September 17 this year. It is not too late.

We do not understand how peace can be reached with Russia, which does not want this peace. Instead, it tries to force us to accept conditions that destroy Ukrainian statehood,” says the appeal of the movement.

In a Euromaidan-take on events, the movement has announced a Viche, or public gathering on Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kyiv, on Sunday, 6 October. Such Viches, the title of which harkens back to the times of the medieval kingdom of Kyivan Rus, where matters of city life were decided during a gathering of all citizens on public squares, were held each Sunday during the Euromaidan protests of 2013-2014.

This article has been amended to add updates.
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