An op-ed by Ukraine’s billionaire oligarch Victor Pinchuk published in the Wall Street Journal in which he suggested that Ukraine should trade Crimea for Donbas got a harsh response from the administration of President Petro Poroshenko.
In an op-ed that appeared on the Wall Street Journal website on Jan. 4, Kostyantyn Yelisieiev, deputy head of the presidential administration, commented on Pinchuk’s article, saying that compromises on Russia’s terms are “the wrong policy.”
In his Dec. 29 op-ed titled “Ukraine must make painful compromises for peace with Russia,” Pinchuk wrote that Ukraine should give up hopes of soon membership in the European Union and NATO in exchange for peace in Donbas. He also argued that elections in war-torn Donbas are vital for the country’s future.
“Conflict in the east was initiated from abroad and is not a genuine autonomy movement or civil war. There will not be conditions for fair elections until Ukraine has full control over its territory. But we may have to overlook this truth and accept local elections. Such compromises may mean letting down Ukrainians from the east who have suffered enormously,” Pinchuk, a renowned philanthropist and a son-in-law of ex-President Leonid Kuchma, wrote.
In its recent Oligarch Watch series, the Kyiv Post published a profile of Pinchuk where it was noted that Pinchuk had been keeping silence on Putin and Russia’s war against Ukraine to secure his business ties with Russia. Political analyst Taras Berezovets told Kyiv Post that he didn’t remember “a single case where Pinchuk said anything about… Putin’s aggression.”
In his reaction op-ed, Yelisieiev wrote that there were red lines that no one in Ukraine would dare to cross. He wrote that there should be no reversal in the European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine.
“This would be a surrender of independence, sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine. It would be like a return to the Soviet past in Ukraine — something, even Mr. Pinchuk wouldn’t welcome,” Yelisieiev said, adding that neither Donbas nor Crimea could be part of a trade-off for peace. He ensured that they will “never abandon the Ukrainians who were trapped behind the Iron Curtain of Russia’s military invasion in Crimea and Donbas.”
Yelisieiev also argued that no elections in Donbas are possible with “Russian boots on Ukraine’s soil.”
“The Kremlin would definitely like to legalize its hybrid occupation and puppet regimes in Donbas by Ukrainian hands. No one should fall into this trap,” Yelisieiev wrote. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry reported on Jan. 3 there were at least 40,000 Russian fighters in the east of Ukraine, including 5,000 Russian regular army troops.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry reported on Jan. 3 there were at least 40,000 Russian fighters in the east of Ukraine, including 5,000 Russian regular army troops.
Over the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s military was attacked 52 times, including positions in Donetsk’s Oblast towns Shyrokyne, Pavlove and Vodyane. In Luhansk Oblast, Novooleksandrivka and Stanytsya Luhanska, 16 kilometers north-east of Luhansk, remained hot spots as the Russian-backed fighters were using grenade launchers.