Saturday, May 7, 2016

Kyiv Must Reject West’s Calls to Change Constitution and Hold Elections in Occupied Donbas, Piontkovsky Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 7 – Kyiv must reject calls by Berlin and Paris to change the Ukrainian constitution and allow elections in the occupied Donbas because these calls, which reflect Moscow’s exploitation of the desire of the two European leaders to be seen as peace makers, would result in the destruction of the Ukrainian state, Andrey Piontkovsky says.

            The Russian commentator, now in forced exile, says that calls from Berlin and Paris are all about the ambitions of the leaders in those two capitals to appear as peace makers, something Moscow is cleverly “exploiting” (

            But under no circumstances should Ukraine agree. On the one hand, Moscow has not fulfilled any of the conditions of the Minsk agreements. The ceasefire is shaky and “all the rest is fantasy. Moscow will never withdraw its forces and hand over the border, and consequently [Ukrainians] need not destroy their state for the ambitions of Holland and Merkel.”

            Instead, Ukraine should retain its current constitution and treat the Donbas as “temporarily occupied territories. That is all,” and from that perspective, “all that takes place there is the responsibility of the aggressor [Russia] and the [Moscow-backed] occupation authorities.”

            By calling for elections in the occupied territories, Putin is seeking to insert “a cancerous tumor within Ukraine.” That must be rejected, and Kyiv must explain to its “Western allies” that there is a “very simple reason” it is doing so: “Moscow has fulfilled nothing [of the Minsk agreements] not even the call for a cease fire.”

            In a related comment, Piontkovsky says that Kyiv should not try to re-integrate the occupied territories too quickly as given where things stand now, “this could be dangerous.” Instead, the Ukrainian army should maintain its defensive positions on the demarcation line and not allow Russian forces to move further, “fight corruption and build a legal state.”

            Because these are occupied territories, “sooner or later they will be returned,” the Russian commentator says, but if they remain as they are now under the rule of “bandits assigned and controlled by Moscow, Ukraine doesn’t need them and they are very dangerous for it.” Indeed, a too rapid return would be a roadblock on Ukraine’s path to Europe.

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