How / Moscow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the front line in the east of the country on Thursday. For Zelensk, Donbas is a hot soil. After months of relative calm, armed clashes occurred again. Since the beginning of this year, the Ukrainian army has lost more than 30 men in eastern Ukraine. The losses of the Russian-backed rebels are similar.
The escalation of the conflict, which plunged the east of the country seven years ago into war and led to the emergence of unrecognized republics backed by Moscow, is not just a security issue for Zelensky. Although the Russian tanks in the dangerous vicinity of the Ukrainian border look like a real threat.
Zelensky is weak
Resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine was the focus of the presidential campaign that helped Zelensky win the 2019 elections and defeat the then head of state, Peter Poroshenko. He remains a key aspect of Zelensky’s re-election.
Zelensky offered an alternative to war and a willingness to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The moderate rhetoric before the elections was also viewed favorably by residents of the Ukrainian-controlled part of the Donbas.
“Zelensky was expected to come with a different approach and could end the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. At first it seemed like this, there was an exchange of prisoners of war.” Ekaterina Odarchenko, head of the Ukrainian National Tribune Party, told Lidovky.cz: “Then the situation changed. “.
The Donbas agenda was also customized by Putin’s personal friend, opposition politician, and influential Ukrainian oligarchy, Viktor Medvedchuk. But at the end of February, Zelensky sanctioned him and removed him.
“I don’t think Zelensky can negotiate with Putin as an equal partner to him. Ukraine does not have a strong diplomatic position. We must also take into account the international factor. There are projects like the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which Europe cannot abandon,” he explains. Audenkova.
Therefore, the logical direction for Ukraine is membership in NATO, which will strengthen not only the country’s diplomatic position.
“The war with us for seven years. I don’t understand the warnings about Russian tanks. Have people lost their memories? Ukraine has faced Russian aggression since the beginning of the conflict. A missile attack by Russian forces in mid-June 2014 near the border killed more than 40 people. Russia participated in Bloody operations in Ilovsk and Dubaltseve, “Mykola Kolesnik, a societal politician from Kriv Rog, Zelensky’s hometown, and combat veteran in the Donbas, told Lidovky.cz’s servant.
A Ukrainian politician is concerned that the government is unable to adequately respond to the situation at the front and is mired in regular scandals. Currently, the Ukrainian media is filling in the case of former judge Mykola Chosa, who was kidnapped by the secret services from neighboring Moldova.
“Once the government thinks about the army, and invests in it, we don’t care what Putin rocks at the Ukrainian border. Corruption scandals overshadow events at the front. It is a shame that so many political corruption scandals and warring countries shake. Some fight and defend the homeland and flood the Darmed Eat restaurant. In still life, “Kolesnik is furious.
Russian tanks currently stand near the Ukrainian border, but the rebel Donbas republics turn away from Kiev without shots. In the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics, Russian citizenship is diligently distributed. According to the Russian authorities, more than 600,000 people in Donbas have already received a citizen with a double-headed eagle.
Odarčenková believed that it was not possible to forcibly reintegrate the rebellious territories. It is said that it will only pass through active diplomatic efforts and if Ukraine is economically attractive to the people of the unrecognized people’s republics. Kolesnik agrees. However, he doubts that the breakaway regions will return.
“A generation has grown up there with Russian propaganda. This year, young people between the ages of 11 and 12 at the start of the war will go to conscription. They will serve in the so-called people’s republics, take up arms in their hands and direct them toward Ukraine.”
“There will be no return,” journalist Alexander Kalenko, a sympathetic journalist, told Lidovky.cz with the Donbau rebels: “There will be no comeback.” “The residents of Donetsk and Luhansk republics do not want this, even though they are living in worse conditions than they were before 2014. The Ukrainian political elite, which might dominate the political scene after the secession of Donbas, does not want that either,” he added.