The ethnic discord

Ukraine’s political intelligentsia is reverting back to the spirit of Minsk accord.

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Published: Tue 27 Jan 2015, 9:07 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 7:49 PM

President Petro Poroshenko, weeks after taking a more rigid stance against Moscow, has vowed to calm fighting with ethic Russians in its eastern territories and enter into a quid pro quo with Moscow. Earlier, Petro had said that his forces would fight till the end, and not give in to ‘dictation’ from Kremlin.

This change of heart was well received in Moscow as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also urged for a comprehensive political dialogue to end the standoff. Russia has for long advocated a negotiated solution to what it calls ethnic fissures in Ukraine, and wherein Russian-speaking people are in need of a self-defined identity as they become part of Ukrainian statehood. The good point is that Kremlin had desisted from calling for a separate statehood for its ethnic subjects, and this is where Moscow differentiates itself from its annexation policy in Crimea.

What is required as far as the upheaval is concerned is a uniform policy approach from both Kiev and Moscow to implement the Minsk declaration that called for creating political space for the people of eastern Ukraine, and grant them enough privileges to become part of the solution. At the same time efforts are needed to put an end to blame game underway between the warring parties, and to ensure that the presence of extra-territorial forces from eastern Ukraine are shunted out.

As an immediate effort, more than a million people who are trapped in fighting in eastern Ukraine should be rescued and conducive environment created for their rehabilitation. Petro, incidentally, has to reassure Moscow that his country’s foreign policy is balanced and Kiev will desist from acting as a springboard for the West. There in lies the solution to the pestering discord in eastern Ukraine.



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