POROSHENKO MOBILIZED TO WAR

Maxim Yusin, Yanina Sokolovskaya

Yesterday the Supreme Rada of Ukraine adopted President Poroshenko’s decree on "partial mobilization". It can affect 20 thousand people, many of whom will be sent to the "anti-terrorist operation" zone in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. According to experts, the presidential decree and its approval by Parliament testify that the "war party" surrounding the head of state is taking over; it makes a bet on the military option and complete victory over the "separatists of the south-east".

According to Supreme Rada deputy from the "Fatherland" party Gennady Moskal, the "servicemen that fall under the current draft will be sent to the zone of the antiterrorist operation in Lugansk and Donetsk regions". In his words, it is about 20 thousand people. A total mobilization could affect up to 20 million citizens of Ukraine, but this option is not considered yet. According to the approved document, the mobilization was declared "due to the manifestations of terrorism that lead to the deaths" of civilians and military personnel, as well as because of the "concentration of troops with considerable offensive potential on the territory of the Russian Federation".

Kiev military expert Igor Levchenko said that a total mobilization will be declared "only in the case of direct military aggression". Levchenko says: "Those who are drafted now will protect the border – and not only in the eastern regions, but in southern Ukraine, too, including in the area of the Crimea".

According to another source, Supreme Rada Deputy from the UDAR party Pavel Rozenko, the current wave of mobilization is a "routine measure of Supreme Commander Poroshenko". It should provide for the rotation of the military, which soldiers’ mothers require, who periodically organize protest rallies in front of the Presidential Administration. According to Rozenko, "the mobilized draftees will not be sent immediately to the area of the antiterrorist operation: before that, they must be trained".

According to Ukrainian experts, another wave of mobilization suggests that the "war party" from Poroshenko’s close circle, which opposes the armistice and any concessions to the Donetsk and Lugansk militia, is taking over. Ukrainian political analyst Mikhail Pogrebinsky says: "Initially Poroshenko was perceived as representative of the "peace party". I think he is aware that no purely military solution to the problem can be. But the President is under huge pressure from the hardliners, who demand that he would not either stop halfway, or make any concessions to the "separatists".

According to the expert, the pressure on Poroshenko is coming from several directions at a time. Firstly, it comes from representatives of the "Fatherland" party holding key positions in the state. Secondly, they are the "oligarchs, who make their fortunes on the war, and use it to strengthen their position". The most famous of them is Igor Kolomoisky. Thirdly, they are the "patriotic" intellectuals of Kiev, who set the tone for the Maidan. They perceive the conflict in the south-east as a historic opportunity to strengthen the Ukrainian statehood and to "completely separate from Russia". Fourthly and finally, the United States that does not want the appearance of another Transnistria in the Donbass, so it and encourages Kiev to act decisively.

Under the pressure of all these forces Poroshenko, who went to the polls under moderate slogans, is gradually toughening his stance. According to Kiev interlocutors of our edition, so it will last as long as the Ukrainian elite and public opinion believe in the possibility of a fast (before coming autumn) and unconditional victory over the breakaway republics.

Source: Kommersant, July 23, 2014, p. 6

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