Will Ukraine become a new flashpoint on Europe’s map?

  
Disclaimer: all opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EurActiv.com PLC.

The situation in Ukraine is developing very rapidly. Over several months, Ukraine has gone through peaceful opposition to a situation where a de facto state of emergency has been introduced in the country, writes Viktor Sokolov.

Viktor Sokolov is Vice-President of the Gorshenin Institute, a tink-tank.

The situation in Ukraine is developing very rapidly. Over several months, Ukraine has gone through a way from a peaceful opposing that ended on 30 November – when the Berkut special detachment dispersed the demonstrators, mainly young students of universities – to 25 people killed in 24 hours of confrontation.

Dangerous precedents have been set.

Yesterday, the peaceful settlement would have been realistic. The text of the constitutional agreement was approved by the power and the opposition. It was supposed to re-establish the system of balances and counterbalances by returning to Constitution 2004. The Verkhovna Rada chairman Volodymyr Rybak asserted that the relevant bill would be set for vote, but at the very last moment, he refused to do so. The peaceful protest was prevented from access to the Verkhovna Rada.

As result, confrontations between the protesters and the police detachments started that transformed into massive clashes afterwards. The attempt to clean up the administrative quarter by force resulted in numerous victims. According to preliminary count, 25 people already died yesterday and overnight, from gunshot  wounds included.

Today, a de facto emergency state has been introduced in the country. Obvious are the following elements:

  • Special order of entering and leaving towns, restriction of freedom of movement in the emergency territory. Metro is not operating in Kyiv. “Snowstorm” plan has been introduced in the city that limits movements of citizens. Roads leading to Kyiv are blocked. The midtown in the capital is blocked with police checkpoints that search cars. Operation of institutions and companies  located in the downtown has been virtually suspended.
  • Use of army to maintain order. The acting minister of defense Pavlo Lebedev confirmed in his comment to LB.ua publication that paratroopers from Dnipropetrovsk had been sent to Kyiv. The media also report  dislocation of tank forces. It is to note however that the army has not been engaged in the confrontations with the protesters so far.
  • Restriction of media activities. There is a grave pressure on journalists. Berkut special detachments are point shooting on journalists, despite the special marking that identifies them: orange vests with “PRESS” inscription. 27 journalists were injured yesterday and today, and one killed. Broadcast of the pro-opposition  5 Channel TV station was blocked yesterday.
  • Ban on mass events. The use of groups called titushkis for extrajudicial executions against the protesters is a dangerous precedent. “Titushka” is a common name used for these people who are engaged by the Ukrainian power for political purposes as mercenaries for illegal use of force and to organize provocations and clashes. Such groups remind of death squadrons in the Central and Latin America, Tonton Macoutes of the Haitian president Francois Duvalier or the pro-governmental units in Venezuela. For example, the journalist of “Vesti” publication was killed with a gun right in front of the Kyiv police headquarters by one of such groups. Another group smashed almost 30 ambulances that were transporting people injured in the street clashes to hospitals this night.

At the same time, it is to note that the power and the arms get under the control of the protesters in the Western regions of Ukraine. Among other, the Ministry of Interior, the Ukraine’s Security Service, prosecutor offices, military bases and arsenals with arms are under their control now. Negotiations are held with the army about joining the side of the protesters.

Until yesterday, the factor that would have been a serious factor capable of stopping the countering and finding peaceful solutions, was Ukraine’s Parliament. The Parliament has not gathered for the today’s session already. President Viktor Yanukovych has virtually renounced from negotiations with the opposition by suggesting them only one option: stop the protests and make the protesters go home. Yanukovych has stressed that if the situation develops otherwise, other measures might be applied to the opposition leaders.

The parliamentary and the political tools inside the country have been virtually exhausted. One of the ways to channel the situation development back to the peaceful way would be engaging third parties for conflict mediation between the power and the opposition. These may be either international organizations, specific countries  or groups of states  united ad hoc to settle a specific conflict. The major difficulty with such an option is the need for acknowledgement of such a third party as a mediator by both the power and the opposition.

Today, Ukraine is one step from the civil war. The further development of the situation may result in Ukraine becoming a flashpoint on the European map. And the settlement of the situation will cease being only a domestic issue for the citizens of Ukraine.

Advertising

Comments

Anna's picture

EU provokes civil war in Ukraine. Ara Sarkissian , Academician, President of the Academy of Geopolitics , Honorary Consul of Macedonia to Armenia. According to media reports on the Ukrainian revolution , the U.S. government has allocated $ 3.4 billion through USAID listed in Kiev and Lviv. If you add the cost of Germany, Poland , France, the UK and Sweden , the amount to revolution easily overstep the mark of $ 5 billion. Many are active three months of protest actions , as are leaders Evromaydana V.Klichko , A.Yatsenyuk and O.Tyagnibok and opposition fighters who have made a small business during seasonal outage . In the big geopolitical game started strategists in London and Washington main goal - Russian and Crimean Tatars in the event of hostilities will only bargaining chip , cannon fodder Turkey and NATO. Probably soon lead the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers of the West and hirelings hold shift operation Yanukovich and holding new presidential elections , which would be provided to one of the opposition leaders. Such a turn finally split Ukraine apart, but this is what the henchmen seek EU and the U.S. , whose money is now actively involved in the Ukrainian revolution. In this rather strange that voices can not be heard to release Tymoshenko . It would seem that the slogan "Freedom to Yulia! " Should be raised at the barricades of Kiev from the first days of confrontation. But no, it did not happen . Why ? Because Tymoshenko is a huge political counterweight Schuler Klitschko - Yatsenyuk - Tyahnibok that do not represent anything. Leaving today Tymoshenko to freedom , the revolution would have taken an entirely different scenario , where the presidential - parliamentary form of government changed to a parliamentary and regions would get more freedom in economic development than it is today . But as luck would Viktor Yanukovych Tymoshenko keeps under lock and key , not letting it change the course of history, and it is very strange. The fact that the President of Ukraine in the near future will be forced to leave his post , apparently for many obvious to him. Therefore, Viktor Yanukovych as often and effectively consult with representatives of the EU , which rudely pulls U.S. Deputy Secretary V.Nulland . Has the right ! http://www.ng.ru/cis/2014-02-21/7_merkel.html?id_user=Y
http://www.svoboda.org/contentlive/liveblog/25270427.html