Poroshenko: Off To a Bad Start – Dire Fallout Looming Out to Tower around Ukraine By Natalia Meden

11 June 2014 — Strategic Culture Foundation

To cease fire this week. Nobody could make out what it means in practice (is it pulling troops out or turning Donbass into scorched earth?). “We have to stop fire this week. For me, every day of people dying, every day of Ukraine paying such a high price is an unacceptable one,” President Poroshenko said in an apparent reference to the fighting around Slavyansk as he opened the first meeting of a three-party contact group on the implementation of the peace plan to establish peace and calm in eastern Ukraine. The establishment of the group with such a long and complicated name appears to be the major result of Poroshenko’s first foreign trip after the presidential election. The Ukrainian President discussed a peace plan with French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the margins of the D-Day commemorations in Normandy. 

As reported, the meeting of Petro Poroshenko with Russian President Vladimir Putin lasted just 15 minutes as did the conversation between the Russian President and US President Barack Obama.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel exceeded the time limit. The Russian and German leaders spoke for an hour before the D-Day commemoration ceremony started. It’s not known what they talked about. The description of the event was unusually short. The Chancellor’s press-service said Russia is to realize it has responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine. The gas deal was not on the agenda. The scarcity of information made journalists watch the gests, eyes and expressions of leaders’ faces. Angela Merkel looked stern as a school teacher. American diplomats praised the Chancellor for being cool with Putin unlike the warm reception she had given to Poroshenko in Berlin just a day before meeting the Russian President.  And that was all.

 Visiting the German capital Poroshenko was told that Berlin is ready to render the aid Ukraine needs so much. The promise caressed the ear; Ukraine still cherishes hope that German businessmen will lend a helping hand. Perhaps that’s what Kiev-appointed Donetsk regional governor Sergey Taratuta has visited Germany for.  According to Federal Foreign MinisterDr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, they discussed the prospects for crisis management.  The German foreign chief warned Kiev against excessive use of force. [1]  It makes one hope that at last Steinmeier started to think in practical terms about how to get the situation out of deadlock as just recently he had been inclined to point finger at Moscow making it guilty for everything that went wrong in Ukraine.[2]

After the meeting between President Putin and Chancellor Merkel in Donbass, mainstream German media outlets violated the informal taboo and started to report the facts about the upcoming humanitarian disaster in Donbass; five cities left without water and electricity, the number of refugees has grown up to 10 thousand.  Germans reacted in posts, “Until now the West has given a priority to humanitarian interventions, now it has changes somehow. The West will lose credibility worldwide if the attitude does not change.” [3]Another post said “When will they tell the truth at last! Children suffer most. The European Union could have started water supplies. Set in his ways   Poroshenko will give a start to a catastrophe. Total terror, intimidation of civilians. Obamaisputtoshame!” [4]

Blood and Iron (Blut und Eisen) is the title of a speech by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck given in 1862 about the unification of the German territories. The contemporary Ukraine is jaded after the Maidan events and the coup. But the government is moving headlong to the goal of unification at whatever cost without looking back and thinking about consequences.  No electricity, no water? Let’s stop humanitarian aid and block refugee flows to Russia. Let’s see how long they will last. There are many people in Europe and in Germany in particular who believe the unrest in the south-east of Ukraine is to be dealt with by force, the dissent quelled the government may launch the negotiation process. The decision of Kiev not to hold talks with the self-proclaimed people’s republics is supported by Wolfgang Friedrich Ischinger, a seasoned diplomat who co-chaired three round tables of national unity before the presidential election in Ukraine, and German President Joachim Gauck, who represented Germany at the Ukrainian President’s inauguration. This approach makes doomed from the start the Steinmeier-initiated idea of organizing round tables in Ukraine.

What is implied by Poroshenko as he expresses the desire to cease fire? If he means putting an end to the “anti-terror operation”, something Russia has been consistently advocating since a long time ago, there would be no need to make precise timing, like saying “this week”, for instance.  It’s enough to give an order. “This week” may have quite a different meaning – a week to quell the resistance putting down all the hotbeds in Donbass. The surmise is also substantiated by the fact that all forces under the Ministry of Internal Affairs will be re-dislocated to the south-east as was reported on June 9.  That’s what Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs, said after the three-party contact group’s session was over.

The problem is there, blood continues to be shed in Donbass and refugees flee their homes. What is the right place to tackle the problem, is it another session of “three-party contact group on the implementation of the peace plan to establish peace and calm in eastern Ukraine” or the battle areas in the heat of ongoing war in the Ukraine’s east?  



[1]http://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/frank-walter-steinmeier-im-interview-von-einer-loesung-sind-wir-weit-entfernt/10007018.html

[2]Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 31.05.2014.

[3]www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/ausland/kaempfe-in-der-ostukraine-hunderttausende-menschen-ohne-wasser-12974108.html

[4]meta.tagesschau.de/id/86164/ostukraine-offenbar-hunderttausende-ohne-wasser

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