Military and diplomatic solution of the problem, information campaign and isolation — these are the elements of the state strategy offered by experts with respect to the territories not controlled by Ukraine.
De-occupation or “fight for soles”: what strategy with respect to Donbas will Ukraine choose?. Part 1
On April 29, Petro Poroshenko appointed Heorhiy Tuka Deputy Minister on Temporary Occupied Areas. Before that he was Head of the Luhansk Region. As Tuka says, he has the plan of actions for the first days of being on the new position, and this work is connected with the strategy for returning the uncontrolled areas of the Donbas.
In Facebook, Tuka writes about his first steps:
Preliminary generalizations on the topicality of IDPs' problems. Having analyzed the posts, I have experiences satisfaction: my vision (mostly) coincides with the majority of the posts. I didn't make public my views in order not influence your opinion, and I'm happy that we share the views. I think the same way as you do: the priority task is to create jobs, employment.
To win in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, it is more important to fight for people, than for territories, as the volunteer remarks.
Myroslav Hay, a volunteer and a former participant of the war against separatists supported by Russia, supports Tuka's strategy in the Donbas. He stresses that in order to gain victory in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, Ukraine should fight more for the people who are living in the Donbas.
Mass well-paid pro-Ukrainian campaign should be immediately started on those territories. And it should be conducted in the way which people living there understand. At the same time, better conditions should be created for IDPs.
“It must be a step-by-step strategy acting in various directions. In particular, mass well-paid pro-Ukrainian campaign should be immediately started on those territories. And it should be conducted in the way which people living there understand. I can't understand when officials responsible for this campaign simply distribute media in Ukrainian”, the volunteer explains to the Radio Liberty.
“At the same time, better conditions should be created for IDPs. For the people in the occupied areas to understand that Ukraine is prestigious, it is cool, that Ukraine takes care of its citizens. We have to start working with citizens”.
Besides, Myroslav Hay calls for the Ukrainian state to investigate in the proper way and condemn the aggression of Russia against Ukraine and to stop Russian propaganda on the Ukrainian territory. Among particular problems, there is the absence of Ukrainian state humanitarian aid to residents of occupied areas. He admits that the humanitarian aid that gets there is from Russia and the aid from Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov. Thus, the results of possible elections on those territories may not be in favour of Ukraine. Myroslav says, “It is impossible to return the territories with arms if the enemy propaganda is more powerful than our own one”.
It is impossible to return the territories with arms if the enemy propaganda is more powerful than our own one.
“It is impossible to return the territories with arms if the enemy propaganda is more powerful than our own one. Then locals will turn the Ukrainian military columns back as it happened at the beginning of the conflict. Locals are infected by the enemy propaganda. We may hate them for that. But it is the same as to hate a sick person who needs treatment”.
Earlier, Roman Bessmertny, a former Ukrainian negotiator in the Minsk talks, spoke about gaps in the strategy connected with the Donbas. He has refused to continue his participation in the talks.
The absence of the state strategy with respect to the Donbas causes frustration, says Oleksiy Melnik, co-director of international security programs of Razumkov's Center, in an interview to Radio Liberty.
“It's absurd that Ukraine has not developed any strategy for two years of the conflict. It is necessary to develop the strategy principles. Military way is impossible now.”
“There should be strategy. Heorhiy Tuka, and Roman Bessmertny speak about it. It is absurd that Ukraine has not developed any strategy for two years of the conflict. It is necessary to develop the strategy principles. Military way is impossible now. And it is not just about the return of the Donbas. If the price of the return is too high — it should not be done. Then there should be isolation for some time until there are conditions to return them or until the time SADLR (separate areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions — editor) would like to come back”, the expert emphasizes.
“It is necessary to develop the principles of the strategy. The military way is impossible now because separatists supported by Russia will strongly resist. Due to that there will be heavy losses on the part of Ukraine”, the expert says. According to Melnik, Donbas residents should be offered a different model despite their preferences. And this model should be better than the one offered by Russia. Messages which come from Ukraine to the occupied territory do not work. The expert explains that the strategy should take into account Ukrainian national interests, not the interests of big business which tries to preserve trade with Russia.
At the same time, Myroslav Hay stressed that the state does not allocate any money for the work with the occupied territories of the Donbas and the Crimea and for the support of IDPs. So, the volunteer admits that the state treats these territories as something not needed. However, he understands that to resume control over these not big but densely populated and robbed areas of the Donbas will be “a huge weight on the neck of Ukraine” and it is unreal to bear it without a significant financial aid of the international community. These risks may have been assessed by the power, and due to that the state does not make more efforts to return the territories. Besides, to win in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, it is necessary to fight for the people more than for the territories, as Myroslav Hay sums up.
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