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Poroshenko needs Donbass standoff to maintain position as president — expert

Poroshenko is hardly the most popular politician in Ukraine, expert points out

MOSCOW, February 12. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko needs the Donbass conflict to maintain his position as president after the 2019 election, Director of the Progressive Politics Foundation Oleg Bondarenko at TASS roundtable dubbed The Minsk Agreements: Three Hard Years.

"The presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled to be held before May 2019 are the main reason [for escalating tensions in Donbass]," the expert said. "Pyotr Poroshenko definitely seeks to use every chance to intensify the slow-moving civil war as he would only be able to maintain his position as president by being re-elected or declaring martial law in order to delay the elections," Bondarenko added.

He pointed out that Poroshenko was hardly the most popular politician in Ukraine, while if someone else was elected president, chances were high that an end would be put to the Minsk Agreements. "A new Ukrainian president will highly likely consider himself or herself no longer bound by the Minsk Agreements. I can predict that all the activities on the Minsk track may end next spring. It means that either tensions will rise once again or the new president will say that Ukraine is pulling out of the Minsk Agreements. It is also possible that they will just refrain from prolonging the law on the special status of Donbass, which would also mean their withdrawal from the Minsk process," Bondarenko said.

The expert noted that Kiev sought a repeat of the 2008 conflict between South Ossetia and Georgia. "Clearly, they will try to make it happen one way or another. However, there has been only one example of successful implementation of such a scenario recently - it was Croatia’s 1995 Operation Storm against the Republic of Serbian Krajina," Bondarenko said.