Pro-Kremlin observers sceptical about Ukraine president’s pledge

Text of report by the website of Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda on 10 June

[Aleksey Pankin report: "Novorossiya Does Not Believe in Promises. Komsomolskaya Pravda Asked Specialists About the Remarks of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Who Has Now Assumed Office"]

"We must ensure a cease-fire this week," Poroshenko said during a meeting with representatives of the OSCE and Russia. "The situation where people die each day and Ukraine is paying such a high price is unacceptable." He added that it is necessary first of all "that the work of the Ukrainian state border be restored in order to guarantee security for all Ukrainian citizens living in the Donbass, irrespective of their political preferences".

The experts questioned by KP viewed this initiative in a range running from highly guarded optimism to outright scepticism.

"As an experienced politician, Poroshenko knows that a peaceful settlement of the situation in the Donbass is in his personal political interests. Europe clearly wants de-escalation. Putin also has promised to tighten control over the border on the Russian side should the new Ukrainian president prove the seriousness of his intentions," Mykhaylo Pohrebynskyy, director of the Kiev Centre for Political Investigation and Conflict Study, tells us. But the expert believes that under conditions where "multi-polar uniformed personnel" are operating in Ukraine, the new president’s capacity for giving orders that will be executed is very limited.

"Almost simultaneously with the cease-fire promise, a promise to raise the pay of participants in the anti-terror operation and to provide them with body armour was heard from Kiev," Vladimir Zharikhin, deputy chairman of the CIS Institute, points out. "How do these go together?" He believes that the new Ukrainian president will play a double game: on the diplomatic front, for the television cameras, speak about peace and continue combat operations under the patronage of the Americans.

The well-known military correspondent Aleksandr Zhilin believes that the employment of Grad missiles on Trinity Sunday, when a church sustained damage, testifies better than any words to the true intentions of the new authorities.

"In his inauguration speech Poroshenko said two no’s to the main demands of the Southeast: Russian as a state language and federalization. About what does he intend to negotiate?" the analyst asks Komsomolskaya Pravda. And adds that he also lacks the forces for winning the war against the background of the general reluctance of Ukrainians, in the West included, to fight. He does not rule out the combat operations in the Southeast themselves being supplemented by attempts to discredit the volunteer militia in the eyes of the citizenry, through the organization "in their name" of acts of terrorism on the rest of the territory of Ukraine included.

As far as the Southeast is concerned, Poroshenko’s promises are distrusted here.

"Ask Poroshenko himself what he meant with his statement about an end to military operations. Mobilization and the training of volunteers for the defence of Donetsk continue with us," Andriy Purhin [Andrey Purgin], first deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, told the news media.

"We have long put no credence in any promises from Kiev. This is all a mask," a lecturer of a Donetsk institution of higher learning, who asked not to be named, summed up.

Question of the Day

Why did Poroshenko extend the operation if he could have ceased fire then and there?

Leonid Kalashnikov, first deputy chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee:

Of course, all this is just words as yet – talk for life, for enfranchisement, this is not how things are done! If Poroshenko were really about to cease fire, he would initially have issued an edict setting the executive in motion. After which he would have invited the antagonist to the negotiating table.

Aleksandr Dyukov, historian:

I believe that Poroshenko’s statement is nothing more than a symbolic gesture, with which Kiev is demonstrating a readiness for a peaceful settlement. The strong-arm operation is, meanwhile, taking its course and will not be ended.

Anatoliy Vasserman, intellectual games winner:

Poroshenko first attempted to suppress Novorossiya by force and only when he had satisfied himself that he lacked the forces did he decide to make a great virtue out of a little necessity. Now he will build up a new force of troops and arms there, and when it is built up, attempt once again to obliterate Novorossiya.

Mikhail Remizov, president of the National Strategy Institute:

He is on the one hand promising a cease-fire, on the other, he is ruling out the possibility of dialogue with those who held a referendum on their territory and partially achieved an extremely high level of support. There are no grounds for trusting what he says, therefore.

Igor Beloborodov, senior expert of the Russian Strategic Studies Institute:

A cease-fire requires numerous negotiations within the Ukrainian political elite and cannot be achieved instantly, it is possible that the new president of Ukraine and his team are awaiting some more convenient moment in order to emerge from this difficult situation, although it is possible that a decision has already been made and that the combat operations that are being observed are of a fading inertial nature.

Oksana, Radio KP (97.2 FMM) listener:

One expert said that Poroshenko had gotten the go-ahead from the West to take 2,000 lives. Is he meeting a quota?!

Source: Komsomolskaya Pravda website, Moscow, in Russian 10 Jun 14

 

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