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War VS Negotiations. How to bring Donbass back to Ukraine?

War VS Negotiations. How to bring Donbass back to Ukraine?

Photo by DW Photo by DW

How the conflict in Donbas will develop worries each Ukrainian. Everyone has their own vision of the situation and the ways of its resolution based on individual experience, MM information, and politicians' promises.

Dmytro Kovalenko, a businessman from Slovyansk, a volunteer with military education. He has helped the Ukrainian Armed Forces actively since 2014. After the liberation of Slovyansk, he opened a paintball ground in the town park. He thinks that the occupied territory may be returned only by force of arms.

«The best variant is the Croatian variant. World history proves that if the nation can't feed its army, they will feed the other army. There are no other variants. Territories are never returned peacefully», a Slovyansk resident Dmytro Kovalenko said.

At present no parliamentary political fraction supports the military way of returning the uncontrolled territory.

In particular, the Opposition Block chooses complete demilitarization of the region and deployment of peacekeepers who will control the border.

The other side of the political spectrum represented by DemAliance, Natsionalny Korpus, Samopomich, and Svoboda are for the imposition of martial law only on the territory close to the hostilities zone, according to the survey conducted by The Dzerkalo Tyzhdnia.

Dmytro thinks that the Croatian variant of the conflict resolution is possible only after the change of power.

«President is not ready to go for it. His policy is the policy of compromises and agreements. He has a lot of weak spots which the enemy may use; that is why this variant is impossible», he said.

Not everyone is like Dmytro in Donbas. Liliya Zander supports a peaceful way of resolving the conflict.

«There must be talks; there must be agreement and understanding. After all, we are all people. Each of us has close people on both sides of the demarcation line», Director of Local Studies Museum in Slovyansk Liliya Zander said.

She is Director of Slovyansk Local Studies Museum. Despite the fact that the most popular exposition in the Museum is the ATO weapons collected by the Museum staff, Liliya thinks that war is the last thing to be proud of.

«I think insulting words should not be used when speaking about, for example, Russia — this is lack of culture. Solve the problem diplomatically. I myself suffer because of that — my son lives in Russia; I can't see him. Technology, the Skype helps. They are not to blame for what happened», Liliya Zander said.

Ukrainian parties do not have a single position on reintegration. No political force believes that direct talks between Kyiv and Moscow may be effective.

According to the survey conducted by The Dzerkalo Tyzhdnya, Petro Poroshenko Block and Syla Liudey consider Minsk Agreements «the uncontested condition of restoring the territorial integrity».

The Opposition Block claims that the Agreements should be corrected. Hromadska Positsiya, Samopomich, and Svoboda insist on the cancellation of the Agreements. They do not consider the Agreements to be effective and that they conform to the Constitution. Batkivshchyna and Radykalna Partiya's position is tougher; they propose to go back to the Budapest Memorandum.

«The vision is like this, in two words: everything should be based on the Budapest Memorandum, and then it’ll be fine; we will negotiate; we will get the power and then we will solve the problem. How? It will be decided later», Vadym Chernysh, Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs said.

What do Ukrainians think?

According to sociologists, residents of eastern regions are more ready for any compromises if they help resolve the conflict.

«Those regions suffer the most because of the war; they bear the main gravity of the conflict; that is why they are ready to make concessions», Ruslan Kermach, political analyst said.

According to GfK Company's survey, residents of the Donetsk region name several supporters of Donbas reintegration from among parliamentary parties. They are PPB, Radical Party, the Opposition Block, and Batkivshchyna.

According to Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation's data, the following parties have the highest rating: Za Zhyttia, the Opposition Block, the Radical Party, and Yulia Tymoshenko's Batkivshchyna.

«It is evident that those politicians whose electors are the eastern part, in particular, Donbas, appeal to peace and have some plan to achieve this peace. When you analyze the plan in detail, there is nothing original in it. These are just empty statements; they appeal and play on emotions», political analyst said.

The reintegration is the aim, however, terms of its achievement and mechanisms of its implementation are not clear yet.

It is difficult to forecast how the forthcoming elections will change the situation. It will depend on the fact whether Ukrainians will be able to choose candidates who will propose effective mechanisms for the reintegration of the uncontrolled territories.

Despite the fact that the key for peace is in the Kremlin, Ukrainian position should not be passive.

As long as Russian troops are in the occupied part of Donbas, politicians will not be able to return the territory. However, they can and should to return the people provided the new president, the parliament, and the government take up problems  experienced by citizens.

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