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Why Ukraine must not end the Donbas “blockade”

Russian hybrid army in the Donbas, Ukraine
Russian hybrid army in the Donbas, Ukraine
Why Ukraine must not end the Donbas “blockade”
Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
Translated by: Anna Mostovych

If Russian officials say that only the end of the “blockade” will normalize the situation in the Donbas, it means that Ukraine is on the right track.

Vitaly Portnikov, Ukrainian political analyst and writer
Vitaly Portnikov, Ukrainian political analyst and writer

The statement by Russia’s special representative to the Minsk negotiations, Boris Gryzlov, that only the end of the “Donbas blockade” would allow discussions to proceed on normalizing the situation in the Putin-occupied region, reveals what Moscow really wants.

Moscow’s goal is for Ukraine to support the occupiers and the population under their control. Moscow wants the power in the “people’s republics” to remain with the thugs, who will be selected by Surkov [Vladislav Surkov is Putin’s special advisor, responsible for Russia’s Ukraine strategy — Ed.] and Gryzlov and for the money to come from the Ukrainian budget. They would kill us and we would trade with them. This is what Putin wants.

This is not a symbolic goal. The Russian ruler no longer has that much money. Soon he will not have enough for his own regions. It is understood that Russians have become used to poverty and will not complain when their quality of life deteriorates significantly. However, Russian authorities have their own “hot spots” — Moscow and St. Petersburg. The populations of the two capitals have to live comfortably, even against the background of general poverty. This is the key to stability and prosperity of any Russian government — from the tsarist and Bolshevik to the Putinist.

But in Russian history there have already been situations where there was not enought money for the capital — and then the regimes collapsed. And this is precisely what Putin wants to prevent. And for him, every penny is important now.

This is why Russian diplomacy is focused on solving the financial problems of the regime. It is fighting for the lifting of sanctions because Russia understands that their continuation will bring about the default of government companies. Russian diplomacy is trying to achieve the renewal of Ukrainian payments in the occupied territories because otherwise Russians themselves will have to pay.

If Gryzlov says that only the end of the “blockade” will normalize the situation in the Donbas, this means that Ukraine is on the right track.

Only the real reintegration of the region — without invaders and mercenaries, under the Ukrainian flag — will provide the solution to the problem. And until then Putin will have to spend money on the Donbas that he no longer has.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
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