Three mistakes about Ukraine

Even in Russian-speaking Kharkiv residents took to the rallies with placards: “I am Russian. Putin does not need to ‘save’ me!”

By HENNADII NADOLENKO
September 9, 2015 21:48
3 minute read.
Ukraine

Smoke rises above an old terminal (L) and an administrative building of the Sergey Prokofiev International Airport after the recent shelling during fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, November 9, 2014.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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At a conference in Rome on September 3, former justice minister Yossi Beilin once again spoke of his “two state solution for Ukraine.” Previously he presented this idea in an article appearing on the i24news website, in which he advanced the idea of solving the Russian- Ukrainian conflict diplomatically by a “two states for two nations” formula.

At first I did not want to react to this nonsense, as it is difficult to reply to what appears to be simple illogic based on Russian talking points. There is no analysis or understanding of the causes of the situation in east Ukraine offered by Beilin.

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I am convinced that this retired politician, who is currently working with former Ukrainian tax administration minister Alexander Klymenko, who currently heads the Ukrainian Institute of Global Strategies and Adaptations and the foundation of former president Viktor Yanukovych, was merely engaging in populism, trying to convey to the Israeli leadership the idea of the division of my country into two states. This idea is a reflection of the position of the Russian Federation, the main task of which is to impose the view that a so-called “Minsk 3” is necessary.

However, Dr. Beilin, in repeating Russian President Vladimir Putin’s thesis on “the creation of two states for two peoples,” apparently did not take the time to discover that in Ukraine, unlike in Israel, there are no two nations. There is one nation, which we call the Ukrainian people, as well as numerous national minorities who feel themselves equal citizens of our state and are not subject to harassment.

Any unbiased observer can see the obvious mistakes in Beilin’s concept: 1) The language preferences of the citizens of Ukraine do not divide them politically. Moreover, one-and-a-half years of aggression against Ukraine have demonstrated the phenomenon of Russian- speaking, pro-Ukrainian patriotism.

Even in Russian-speaking Kharkiv residents took to the rallies with placards: “I am Russian. Putin does not need to ‘save’ me!” Indeed, nearly half of the Ukrainian soldiers and volunteer battalions in the area of anti-terrorist operation speak Russian.

2) Beilin pretends that the war in east Ukraine is purely an internal conflict between Kyiv and the Donbas. But the truth is that in this conflict there is a powerful third party – Russia, regarding which Beilin is silent. The Israeli ex-minister is similarly silent on the issue of the annexation of Crimea, which has been condemned by the international community.

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Hiding the destabilizing role of Russia is one of the goals of ex-president Yanukovych’s team and the group he sponsors, the Ukrainian Institute of Global Strategies and Adaptations. It is this group of escaped corrupt officials that paid for a recent conference in Rome where Beilin aired again the concept of the division of Ukraine into two states.

3) Beilin’s proposed division of my country is immoral because it awards the aggressor. This idea is no better than the proposal of prime minister Neville Chamberlain regarding the partition of Czechoslovakia and the transfer of the German-speaking Sudeten region into the hands of Nazi Germany in September 1938. And today, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II, we all know how much blood it ultimately costs when you encourage aggressors by giving them “gifts” of territorial “bonuses.”

Addressing the question of armed confrontation in Ukraine, there is no alternative to the existing process and the agreements that were reached in Minsk (Minsk 2). I am sure that Minsk 2, which is based on the peace plan, is an absolutely versatile and comprehensive tool for this matter.

In this context, I emphasize that Ukraine has steadily fulfilled its obligations under the Minsk agreements concerning the cease-fire and the withdrawal of heavy equipment and the immediate release of the hostages, as well as cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and resolving humanitarian issues.

With the full implementation of these agreements by all parties, we would already have come to a long-awaited peace in Ukraine. However, the Russians have completely failed to meet all of their obligations.

On the contrary, Russia continues transferring arms and heavy weapons, ammunition and fuel to separatist regions. If it stopped doing so, peace in Ukraine would come very soon.

The author is ambassador of Ukraine to the State of Israel.

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