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Truce with Putin: a victory of Ukraine or Poroshenko’s defeat?

The Head of the Ukrainian government Petro Poroshenko said that the ceasefire agreement in the eastern Ukraine is possible, after he had a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday, 02.09.2014. The details of such an agreement and means of its achievement remain unclear. On the one hand, the signals come from Moscow that Russian is not a party to the conflict, and therefore it cannot be a party to a ceasefire agreement, on the other hand ,  all the state-controlled media speak about “Putin’s 7 steps plan to stop the war”. While for Moscow all this situation is just another one occasion to show its political ambitions, for the eastern region of Ukraine, exhausted of war, it is a chance to find a peaceful way out of the conflict.

Unfortunately, even the fulfillment of Putin’s terms politically guarantees Ukraine nothing, because the Moscow Kremlin leader’s will to turn Donetsk into a new “Ukrainian Transnistria”  or “steppe Nagorno-Karabakh” is obvious. In case of long-term ceasefire the Russia-supported separatists would come off victorious of the conflict – they would fortify and expand their positions in controlled regions. This outcome is the main goal of Putin’s 7 steps plan. Thus, another frozen conflict may emerge from the situation in Eastern Ukraine. Georgia, a victim of Russian aggression in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, can tell about the consequences of this scenario.

Generally speaking, the frozen conflicts is a usual part of Russian external policy the state benefits from. Through this kind of “mini-states” Russia protects the interests of Moscow by means of never-ending diplomatic negotiations. These actions aimed to cover up the big stick policy. As a result of Euromaidan revolution in February 2014 Russia lost its most important ally in Ukrainian political elite – President Yanukovich and his pro-Russian political Party of Regions. It became clear that the Kremlin is trying to manipulate political future of Ukraine through other means. The ceasefire agreement can become a secret victory of Putin’s Ukrainian policy – no wonder he constantly speaks of it lately.

The fact that the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is ready to make a ceasefire agreement is a natural consequence of the latest events. The loss of Ukrainian army and the land seizure by separatists, supported by Russian regular army, convinced Poroshenko that the military victory in the conflict, initially planned since late-June, has failed. The pressure on Kiev increased once Russia opened a second frontline in Mariupol in the south of Donietsk oblast. EU sanctions, of course, exist, but have no helpful impact. Poroshenko faces a difficult choice: to stop the bloodshed and loose his  political weight (many Ukrainians will be offended by the truce, and some of them will question what their brothers and husbands were dying for?); or to continue the war with no chances to win (the victory in terms of taking the Donbass region over control), but with a clear perspective of political career in future 4-5 years. Sadly, there is no third option.

Though Ukrainians will maybe forgive the European leaders their hands-off attitude, but the history will not. Obviously, Europe can easily take sides in the Iraq situation, but fails to show any hardline stance at home.



Truce with Putin: a victory of Ukraine or Poroshenko’s defeat?
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