All sorts of negotiations (between Kyiv and
unspecified representatives of embattled regions) are being suggested and
encouraged by both Moscow and the European Union. Many observers in Europe and
the United States see such negotiations as a convenient cover for a possible Munich-like
agreement between the West and Russia to “settle the Ukraine conflict” to the
satisfaction of big powers.
Such a settlement would not only enable but
impose the Donbas with its power structure to remain part of Ukraine — and, of course, to continue to be a major
lever in Kremlin’s geopolitical strategy to keep Ukraine in Russia’s sphere.
Inexplicably, in the Ukrainian camp the
emotional desire (judging from published exaltations) seems to be “not to lose
the Donbas” rather than not to lose Ukraine. Losing Ukraine, in the opinion of cooler
heads, would be the result of agreeing to Constitutional changes that, in
effect, would confirm the Ukrainian state as Russia’s rust-belt republic. The
Donbas would play the same key role as it had in electing Viktor Yanukovych as president.