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Russian experts doubt Kiev’s commitment to peaceful settlement of crisis

August 01, 2014, 21:00 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
Ukraine's ex-president Leonid Kuchma

Ukraine's ex-president Leonid Kuchma

© ITAR-TASS/Zurab Dhavakhadze

MOSCOW, August 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Thursday agreements reached in Minsk to secure safe access for international investigators to the Malaysian jet crash site in eastern Ukraine give a shade of chance to promote the entire negotiating process on peace settlement, but further efforts are still needed to continue this process, Russian experts say.

Ukraine’s former President Leonid Kuchma and Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov took part in the Minsk meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) in Europe's special envoy to Ukraine, Adelheid Tagliavini and representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) were also invited to the meeting.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was the one who suggested holding peace negotiations in his country’s capital city of Minsk.

Alexei Podberezkin, the Director of Military Political Studies Centre at Moscow State Institute of International Relations, believes that the venue of talks, the negotiators and, of course, the subject for a potential compromise were equally important.

“Any combat actions pursue political goals which can be achieved through talks. Military operations in Ukraine are only being stepped up: it is a real slaughterhouse, with residential quarters, industrial and infrastructure facilities being ruined in artillery shelling, with civilians dying and suffering. Ukraine’s army is demoralized. It is an utter cruelty to continue the so-called ‘anti-terrorist’ operation against compatriots. It means that talks are badly needed although they have little chance to be held,” the analyst stressed.

“In case peace talks finally begin, they should involve parties, which can really be responsible for the outcome and implementation of agreements. Intrinsically, key players in efforts to achieve peace are the United States, the Kiev authorities, the European Union countries, Russia and representatives from Donetsk and Luhansk republics,” he said.

Podberezkin noted that, obviously, the subject of talks might be a complete ceasefire and constitutional guarantees of the rights of Russian-speakers, for instance, the issue of the status of the Russian language or direct elections of regions’ heads in Ukraine.

“The question is whether Kiev really needs it. After all, Ukraine’s chief of general staff has already promised to crush down the Donetsk and Luhansk republics’ resistance by late August. When a military victory seems possible, the party capable of winning is not very much interested in negotiations. Over the entire period of the Ukrainian crisis that was triggered by the coup of February 22, 2014, when President Yanukovych was toppled, the Kiev authorities have violated each and every agreement on non-use of force that was ever achieved,” he said.

Podberezkin said that the Kiev authorities sought to use the talks about their peace strivings as a tactical instrument to achieve their strategic goal - crushing down their opponents in eastern Ukraine.

The analyst added that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his team had a single goal - to shut their opponents’ mouths and organize snap parliamentary elections in autumn in order to finally legalize the anti-Russian regime with pro-American ideology.

“It is hard to believe that Kiev wants a political settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine through talks. And since the world community, being driven by humanitarian concerns, is calling on the Ukrainian authorities to solve the conflict by peaceful means, Kiev does not want to be seen in a disadvantageous light, so it engages in the talks round and round peace subjects,” he noted.

“When the Contact Group was having talks in Minsk on Thursday, the Ukrainian army intensified its offensive near Donetsk, which in no way shows Kiev’s commitment to a peace settlement of the conflict,” Mikhail Remizov, the President of the Institute of National Strategy, told ITAR-TASS.

“One can hardly believe that peace talks on Ukraine are possible. Kiev’s key handler - Washington - is not very interested in the political settlement of the crisis. Moreover, no grounds for possible progress at talks can be seen on the background of the Ukrainian army’s stepping up combat operations in the eastern regions over recent days,” Vasily Krivokhizha, chief research associate at Institute of the USA and Canada Studies of Russian Science Academy, told ITAR-TASS.

Andrei Klimov, a deputy chairman of the international committee of the Federation Council upper house of Russian parliament said that the Minsk talks, launched on Thursday, should be continued.

“Maybe, the regularity of rounds and the list of participating delegations will require changes, but there is no other way to bring the situation in Ukraine back to politically legal framework”, he said.


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