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article imageOp-Ed: Putin applauds Ukraine's Poroshenko's stress on dialogue

By Ken Hanly     Jun 8, 2014 in Politics
Kiev - Putin stressed that the Ukraine should begin internal dialogue and claimed that Russia is not a party to the conflict. However, Russia obviously has supported the separatists in the eastern Ukraine.
Some of those killed in recent conflicts in the east were from Russia. Some commentators also claim that Russia is sending fighters and weapons. However, it is not clear how much control Russia has over the rebels. They refused to obey when Putin said they should postpone a referendum on independence. They went ahead anyway and have declared a People's Republic of Luhansk, and a People's Republic of Donetsk. No one recognizes these entities formally. However, there is another such entity on the border of the Ukraine Transdniester which separated from Moldova ages ago and has Russian support but no recognition. Putin and Poroshenko the new Ukrainian president met on the sidelines of the celebration of the second World War D-Day celebrations. Dmitry Peskov, who is Putin's press secretary said that both leaders “have spoken for a prompt end to bloodshed in southeast Ukraine as well as for an end to military actions from both sides – from the side of the Ukrainian armed forces and the supporters of federalization of Ukraine". Both also agreed there is no alternative to a "peaceful political means" to resolve the conflict.
Putin's statement accentuates the positive even though on the ground conflict continues. Putin told journalists that he welcomed the "positive thinking" of Poroshenko on the Ukraine crisis as well as his view that bloodshed "should be immediately stopped". Putin did not go into any detail of what Poroshenko planned. Putin also said that negotiations should be internal between the eastern Ukraine and the Ukrainian government. The problem is that up to now the Ukraine does not consider the rebels as people to be negotiated with but as terrorists. Poroshenko has not backed off from his harsh condemnation of the rebels: "Their goal is to turn Donbass into a Somalia where they would rule with the power of machine guns. I will never allow that to happen on the territory of Ukraine, The anti-terrorist operation cannot and should not last two or three months. It should and will last hours."
If Putin approves Poroshenko's plan it involves him abandoning the rebels altogether. Perhaps he intends this although that it questionable. Putin has been known in the past to say one thing and do another. Poroshenko's statements also are quite questionable when he insists that the Crimea issue is not negotiable. “The issue of territorial integrity of Ukraine is not subject to discussion. I have just sworn ‘with all my deeds to protect the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,’ and I will always be faithful to this sacred promise.” It is true that the Crimea is not negotiable but only in that Russia hasn't the slightest intention of restoring the Ukraine to the Crimea.
While Putin supports Poroshenko's plan for the Eastern Ukraine at the same time he demands that the Ukraine stop its "punitive operations" in the area even though continuing those "anti-terrorist operations" are part of Poroshenko's plan. However, there is no sign of that happening or of the rebels laying down their arms as is required in Poroshenko's plans. His plans are drawn out in more detail here.
Poroshenko promised that he would allow for "Russian mercenaries" to leave the country and also would grant amnesty to rebels who did not kill servicemen or civilians. Putin maintains there are no such mercenaries. Poroshenko also would present a plan to decentralize power and he also urged early parliamentary elections. He also promised as earlier to crush the rebellion and protect the Ukraine as unitary state while guaranteeing the rights of Russian speakers.
Poroshenko said: “The head of state has a wide spectrum of different instruments to ensure territorial integrity and peace, There will be no shortage of authority and decisiveness. I do not seek revenge.”
While their supposed supporter Putin praised Poroshenko's plan pro-Russian rebels condemned it and maintained that there could be no negotiation unless the Ukraine withdrew its forces from the areas. Putin seems to be ready to allow the quashing of the very rebels he has supported. He even agreed with Ukrainian authorities to close down certain border checkpoints.
In some areas the government is on the offensive and claimed last Wednesday (June 4) that it had killed 300 pro-Russian militants and wounded at least 500 more in the Slovyansk area. However, rebels had captured several border posts, no doubt enabling supplies to flow through posts that Russia has agreed to close. What is certain in all this is BS and bloodshed.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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