Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is offering “special status” to areas in eastern Ukraine; however he is ruling out federalization and says Ukraine will remain united.
But what this “special status” actually means is unclear and it also poses some very serious threats to Ukraine’s independence.
What Russia wants is a “Bosnian scenario” – one that would leave what’s left of Ukraine after the Crimean annexation intact, but allow for a quasi-independent eastern republic much like the similar to that of the Republika Srprska in Bosnia, which would have closer ties with Russia than the rest of the Ukraine.
That could mean a united yet divided Ukraine that would be unable to make any decisions about its foreign and economic policies without the tacit approval of Moscow. It would also mean Ukraine would be stuck with the bill for rebuilding the infrastructure of the Donbas which was destroyed by Russian troops and their terrorist surrogates.
One commentator, Alexander Motyl of Rutgers University, refers to this as “Putin’s trap” and instead advocates Ukraine’s giving up the Donbas altogether – thus sticking Russia with the cost of rebuilding the region, while getting rid of the strongest supporters of the Party of Regions and the Communists, then consolidating the rest of the country into a democratic pro-western state. The problem here is who knows where Russian dictator Vladimir Putin will stop and put other regions of Ukraine at risk.
But the simple fact that Poroshenko has agreed to a ceasefire and is even considering such concessions is due to the fact that the West has simply hung Ukraine out to dry.
Until August 24, Ukraine had been winning the war against the terrorists. But that wasn’t something Putin was prepared to accept. So he sent in more troops, more armor, opened up a second front at Mariupol and inflicted huge casualties at Ilovaisk.
The West, meanwhile, reacted as it always had during this conflict – more finger wagging, more hand wringing, more rhetoric and no action.
On September 8, the European Union approved supposedly tougher sanctions against Russia – yet it failed to implement them. Apparently a number of EU members are reluctant to go ahead including several, like Finland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic, who have been victimized by Russian aggression in the past.
Just prior to the NATO Conference on September 4-5, U. S. President Barack Obama urged NATO to make “concrete commitments” to help Ukraine modernize and strengthen its security forces in the face of Russian aggression. Yet what came out of that conference? A rapid response force to protect existing NATO members – but absolutely nothing for Ukraine. And Obama, meanwhile, has stalled on delivering the $70 million worth of non-lethal aid that had already been promised.
And our own [Canadian] prime minister, who has been so belligerent when it comes to rhetoric, has been most irresolute when it comes to action. Canada still won’t impose sanctions on Sergey Chemezov, who runs the military corporation Rostec, Igor Sechin, CEO of the oil company Rosneft, or Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways – even though all three have been sanctioned by the U. S.
And Harper’s most recent announcement of $1 million to help Ukraine modernize its armed forces is laughable. What’s $1 million these days? The price of a condo in downtown Vancouver.
Ukraine needs effective high tech weapons that will give the country a fighting chance against its rapacious neighbour which is armed to the teeth. And it’s not getting any of these.
If, as a result Ukraine turns back into the dysfunctional Russian puppet state it was under Yanukovych, it will be because it foolishly gave up its nuclear weapons under international pressure, then was left high and dry by its supposed friends.
Marco Levytsky is editor of UKRAINIAN NEWS, an Edmonton newspaper.