The Waiver Of Donbass

I struggled to find something I wanted to talk about today, until I came across an article on Inforos titled:

“Why Ukrainian Foreign Ministry declares Kiev’s possible waiver of Donbass”

…and subtitled – “If Ukraine’s demands to change the ‘Steinmeier formula’ fail to find support, the split between Donbass and Ukraine will intensify”.

Waiver of Donbass? Whatever can that mean? Let me explain…

Back in September 2014, while there were still battles raging between the Ukrainian army and the what were then called the ‘separatists’ of the Donbass region, quite deliberately and erroneously termed an invasion of ‘Russian forces’ by Western media and governments, I wrote a piece here titled “I Heard On The News Tonight…” in which I said, among other things centred on that conflict:

“The truth is, that no ceasefire will be made until Ukrainian forces have been driven out of the lands of the new Republic in the South East of Ukraine and its sovereignty and borders established and recognised.”

And that is quite true in the respect that there has been no actual ceasefire during all the years since that time, due largely to the lack of control, deliberately or otherwise, exercised by the Kiev government on its right wing militias, posing as a legitimate army.

At the time I wrote that of course the two new self-declared republics of the Donetsk and Luhansk areas of the Donbass region had not properly formed or named themselves. They have done that now and also have set up all the appropriate institutions of government etc. which qualify them as being bona fide independent states. States which wisely now have little or no interest in being part of a hostile nation that would seek to crush them, like Ukraine. They don’t have much choice on that as yet, since Russia, at least while there are possibilities for the Donbass to integrate back into Ukraine, is not willing to offer them the sort of ‘return to family’ agreement that was arranged with the Crimea. 

There are obvious reasons for Russian unwillingness to take that step, and while Russia continues to tread the path of obtaining ‘special status’ for Donbass within the Ukraine state – a path which I have always felt would never work or in fact become reality – along with, I believe, the same intent from the new Ukrainian president, Vladimir Zelensky, it has become clear that the Kiev government, driven also by public sentiment, has no intention, and probably has never had such intent, of granting such ‘special status’. I feel sure that Russia must know that and is probably simply talking the talk in anticipation of Kiev actually coming clean and rejecting or trying to circumvent any such agreement from taking place and making the whole situation quite impossible of resolution within the one state.

I believe we have now reached that stage. This shared article from Inforos, mentioned earlier, is perhaps the first intimations of that situation – the waiver of Donbass.

In the article, the Kiev government’s Foreign Minister, Vadim Pristayko, says – and I think he is being brutally honest about this – 

“I see at least three options: trying to agree within that unfair process we’ve got into many years ago, buying time forever and a day while our soldiers are being killed and while people on the other side of the contact line grow to hate us for good and all, so that we can never get them back again, or never returning to this part of Ukraine.”

In the final paragraph of the piece the author, Anna Tereshina, says:

“Almost certainly Kiev does consider the option of giving up on the Donbass region. If Ukraine’s demands to change the Steinmeier formula fail to find support, the split between Donbass and Ukraine will only intensify. The document will come into force only if the OSCE recognizes the Donbass elections as democratic. There is no sign of this ever going to happen, since Ukrainian political parties, especially the nationalist ones, will hardly be admitted to the election. Should that be the case, the “special status” will never become operative. Apparently, this is what Kiev is reckoning on at the end of the day.”

So, what I said back in 2014 and numerous times and in different ways since then, stands as a distinct possibility or even a likelihood. Whether the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) ever get to be part of Russia, or failing that (or perhaps in preference to that, in some eyes) become truly independent states or a joint independent state under another name, remains one of a number of other geopolitical balls tossed into the air and still rising or falling to whatever fate awaits them. One thing is becoming clear. There is no ball in the air for a return of Donbass to Ukraine. That was a balloon that was popped by Ukraine itself some time ago. We just haven’t heard the bang yet. But we have already seen the pieces flying by (if we were watching).

Wow!  I got through that long piece and didn’t mention the US once.  Oh damn!  I just did.

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