Who Heats Up East?

Who Heats Up East?

By Tatyana Stanovaya

While the USA and the EU are imposing new sanctions against Russia, the situation in the east of Ukraine keeps on worsening. “The supporters of federalization” keep on capturing new buildings: in Lugansk almost all administrative facilities are under control of the separatists. The acting President of Ukraine Aleksander Turchinov admitted that Kyiv didn’t control the situation and that Moscow was about to start a war. Against this background the President of Russia Vladimir Putin assured that Russia had nothing to do with the actions of the separatists and expressed his failure to understand the imposing of sanctions by the West.


While the Presidential elections in Ukraine are coming the situation in the country becomes more tensed. The agreements reached in Geneva, despite fragile hopes, have given almost no results in practice. The phrases were so abstract allowing each party its own interpretation. Thus the USA and Ukraine counted that the main obligation of Russia was to calm down the separatists in the east of Ukraine. Russia in its turn has never admitted the fact of its intervention into the situation in the east, i.e. it would have been at least odd to fulfill the things which they had nothing to do officially with. As it turns out now none of the parties, which participated in Geneva consultations, did not wish to undertake any obligations, considering obscure wordings in the agreement just as the pressure instrument against its “rival”.


As a result the situation has not approved but rather started worsening rapidly. In Lugansk almost all administrative facilities have been captured by the separatists. Tension is escalating also in Donetsk. Slavyansk remains under the control of pro-Russian forces. Moscow keep on “washing its hands off”. Vladimir Putin answering the questions of journalists stated that the new sanctions of the West “we don’t understand at all what is it about… as there is no cause-and-effect relation between the events in Ukraine and Russia”. “Russia has nothing to do with it”, underlined the President of the Russian Federation, having added that “neither Russian trainers, nor special forces, nor troops operate there”. But only few believe Putin, as the separatists are being openly instructed by those coming from Russia, who have recently operated “on Crimea”. The US Secretary of State John Kerry also has no doubts (and it is stated that the USA possesses the proofs) that Russia directly manages the actions of the separatists. According to The Daily Beast, yet on Friday April 25th during a closed meeting of the Trilateral Commission in Washington Kerry declared that the USA had the proofs confirming that Russian power from Moscow manages the network of spies in the east of Ukraine. “In the records everyone can note the difference in accent, idioms and language”, noted Kerry adding that “we know definitely those who are giving these orders and where they come from”. He also noted that such methods of action are humiliating for any intelligence services. “It is banditry of the government. It is the worst line of behavior”, stated the US Secretary of State.


Naturally Moscow observes the situation from a different perspective. The key disagreement between Russia and the West within assessment of the events in eastern region is about the party possessing the initiative of capturing of administrative facilities. The West has a definite answer: the Kremlin controls everything. In Russia probably they are assured that they stand behind those people who make decisions and act in reality. The truth is in the middle as known. In the east of Ukraine the case about situational symbiosis of the interests of Russia represented by a big number of “trainers”, local activists using the situation to declare about themselves, partly – by eastern oligarchs ready to use unstable situation as a card for bargaining with Kyiv. The current situation in the east is in reality “suspended”: Kyiv does not undertake (and probably will never do) severe forced actions, and Moscow does not really strive to accelerate the “Crimean scenario” in relation to the east (and the way the matter about Crimea annexation was solved demonstrates that it shall be done rapidly and decisively). The tactics of Moscow is about heating up the situation on a “slow fire”  on the one hand without getting it boiling, but on the other hand without assisting to the regulation of the situation.


Moscow expresses its demands a long time ago. These include reappointment of the Presidential elections and adoption of the Constitution with the list of demands fixing in it the federal system (or already decentralization), neutral status of Ukraine and the status of the second state language for Russian. By this the Kremlin is in hurry: as after the Presidential elections appointed on May 25, it shall be much harder to defend Russian interests. As the fire under the eastern boiler shall be gradually increased with the approach of the elections.  The stake at destabilization has not changed and yet it won’t be changed. And this means that the limits of degradation of the situation around Ukraine, worsening of relations between Russia and the West have not been exhausted, as well as possible imposing of a new portion of sanctions.



Translated by EuroDialogueXXI from politcom.ru






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