The Kyiv Post’s sources say that Ukraine is holding talks on a compromise with the Kremlin that would allow it to reintegrate Russian-occupied areas in the Donbas.
We’d like to pretend we live in a fairytale world. But that would have us believe Russian dictator and war criminal Vladimir Putin will just take his heavy weaponry, troops and bandits out of the Donbas and leave Ukraine alone.
But let’s face reality: the costs of such “reintegration” could be lethal. Everything depends on what kind of concessions Ukraine will be required to make.
Making radical concessions publicly would be suicidal politically for Ukrainian authorities. But President Petro Poroshenko may decide to do it in a more clandestine way. For example, Ukrainian authorities may secretly agree to the lifting of sanctions against Russia in exchange for reintegrating the Donbas. Then the sanctions will be lifted, and Ukraine will publicly condemn this.
Poroshenko will also keep his pro-Western rhetoric but may decide not to seriously pursue Ukraine’s European Union and NATO integration plans to avoid irritating Russia. Also, authorities may tone down their rhetoric on Russia’s annexation of Crimea without recognizing it.
Given Putin’s long-running record of lies and deception, the reintegration of the Donbas may turn out to be a sham – a “hybrid” reintegration that will insert a Trojan Horse into Ukraine’s body politic. The Kremlin could keep its influence, puppets and even troops in the Donbas while creating a false appearance of giving the areas back to Ukraine.
The most dangerous scenario is that a deal with Russia will lead to Ukraine drifting back into the Kremlin’s sphere of influence. Viktor Trepak, an ex-deputy chief of the Security Service of Ukraine, says it’s already happening. A rapprochement with Russia is likely because a corrupt counter-revolution is raging on, and pro-Western reformers are in retreat.
Indeed, given the West’s increasing indifference towards Ukraine, the country’s corrupt elite may deem it logical to reunite with their equally corrupt brethren in Russia. It’s not coincidental that Putin’s close friend Viktor Medvedchuk, a.k.a the Prince of Darkness, is still playing a key role in Ukrainian politics, despite holding no government job.