Tag: <span>Republic of Donetsk</span>

Moldova Appeals

Dangers and Conflict Resolution Efforts in Moldova.

Featured Image: Official visit of the President of the Republic of Moldova Maia Sandu to Kyiv, January 12, 2021. Meeting with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi. By President.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Recent statements by Russian military authorities; such as General Roustan Minnekaiev involved in the Ukraine conflict have drawn attention to what was often considered as a “frozen conflict” in Moldova.  The situation of the Transnistrian region in Moldova has been considered as a frozen conflict due to its unresolved; but static condition since the violent confrontation in June 1992.

Transnistria is de facto independent with many state-like attibutes; and calls itself officially the Moldovian Republic of Dniestr.  However; no other state, including the Russian Federation has recognized it as an independent state.  There are, however; some 1500 Russian military permanently present in Transnistria.  Transnistria had some 706, 000 inhabitants in 1991 at the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union. 

Today, there are some 450,000 – probably less.  Many, especially young people, have left to study or work abroad.  Many in Transnistria have Russian passports in order to travel.  The Transnistrian economy is in the hands of a small number of persons closely linked to the government.

There have been a number of negotiations between representatives of the government of Moldova; and those of the government of Transnistria; but which have led to no agreement as to a possible reintegration of Transnistria.  Official negotiations have been complemented by Track II  efforts; informal discussions in which members of civil society also participated.  The newly elected, in November 2020; President of Moldova Ms Maia Sandu has been actively speaking of the reintegration of Transnistria into Moldova.  Her position has been strongly supported by the government of Ukraine; which sees the parallel with their situation concerning the two People’s Republics: the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Luhansk.

Republic of Donetsk and Republic of Luhansk

Return of released citizens to the territory controlled by Ukraine, December 29, 2019. By President.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

You might interest read: Vital Autonomy for the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Luhansk. The Way Ahead.

There is a danger that the frozen conflict of Moldova begins to melt.  Russian military authorities involved in the Ukraine conflict have spoken of a possible creation of a land route between Crimea and Transnistria.  In adddition; there have been recently a number of rocket attacks; possibly by Ukraining forces; on to Transnistria damaging radio-TV towers used by Russian broadcasting.  While it is unlikely that the fighting in Ukraine spreads to Transnistria and Moldova; the situation must be closely watched and preventive discussions put into place.

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Ukraine Appeals

Ukraine-Donbas-Russia: Can the Normandy Format Be Reactivated?

Featured Image: The famous Independence Square in Kiev on a sunny day. Photo by Euan Cameron on Unsplash.
There has been of late a good deal of sabre-rattling along the Russian-Ukrainian frontier.  There has been talk of war if the Russian troops were to invade Ukraine or to reinforce the separatist areas of Ukraine that call themselves the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Luhansk.
    President Putin has created a strawman against which to fight – the most unlikely event of Ukraine joining NATO.  He has recently shown his resolve for public appreciation  by saying:
 

“We are concerned over prospects of Ukraine’s possible accession to NATO, as it will definitely result in the deployment of military contingents, bases

and weapons posing a threat to us.”

 
The sabre-rattling has been loud enough that the Ukraine situation was an important part of the 7 December videoconference call between Presidents Biden and Putin, and  the subsequent mission of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried, responsible for European and Eurasian affairs, to Ukraine and Russia and then to Brussels  to meet European Foreign Ministers and others.
 
Karen Donfried
  Portrait of Karen Donfried as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs under President Biden. By United States Department of State, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
 
There are long historic and strategic roots to the current crisis.  The external and internal roots of the situation in Ukraine run deep.  Security crises are deeply influenced both by a sense of history and by current perceptions.  Nevertheless, we can use 2014 as a crucial starting point with the annexation by Russia of Crimea.
 

“Crimea has always been an inseparable part of Russia” said President Putin at the time. 

 
The  Western response to the annexation has been to impose economic sanctions which are still in place and have had important consequence of the Russian economy.
    Shortly after the Crimea annexation, there was a change in government leadership in Ukraine leading to a policy that some felt was unjust to the people in eastern Ukraine;  who were largely Russian speaking and turned economically and culturally toward Russia.  Thus a violent separatist movement took form, most likely helped by Russia, leading to the creation of the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Luhansk.  Fighting broke out between the armed sparatists and the regular Ukrainian army and police.
 
Vladimir Putin
 Photograph of Russian Vladimir Putin at 2017 G20 Summit in Hamburg. Cropped and size increased by Emiya1980. By Пресс-служба Президента Российской Федерации, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
   
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) quickly sent a Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine to monitor the situation.  The Mission is still in place and issues daily reports on the violations of ceasefires.  Thus in its 15 December 2021 report in the Donetsk region between 10-12 December there were 444 ceasefire violations and in the Luhansk region 104.  However, the freedom of movement of the Mission’s observers is restricted.  The number of violations , usually exchanges of small arms fire, is probably higher.
 
Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden’s official portrait, 2021. By Adam Schultz, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Special Status.

 
    In 2014, the mandate of the OSCE included not only observation but also efforts at negotiations.  Thus on 12 February 2015, there was negotiated what has been called the Minsk Agreement. Under this Agreement, Ukraine would not be divided but the the areas covered by the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics would be given a “special status” set out in a new constitution. Beyond a rather vague discussion on decentralization, the nature of the “Special Status” has never been made clear, and no administrative measures have been put into place.
 

Normandy Format.

 
    In order to facilitate negotiations, there was created the “Normandy Format”, growing out of a meeting of government leaders in Normandy to mark the Allied landing in 1944.  The  Normandy Format brings together the representatives of Ukraine and Russia and France and Germany to facilitate negotiations.  So far, there has been no visible advance on the special status discussions within the Normandy Format.
 
However, with the new German Foreign Minister, the ecologist Annalena Baerbock, recently in Paris, there may be new initiatives. It is also likely that as a result of the discussions between Presidents Putin and Biden, the U.S.A. will play a more active advisory role.
 
Annalena Baerbock
 
  German Foreign Minister, the ecologist Annalena Baerbock. By Stefan Kaminski (photography), Annalena Baerbock (full rights of use), CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
 
The Association of World Citizens has always stressed the importance of developing appropriate forms of government as a crucial aspects of the resolution of armed conflicts.  The Association has particularly highlighted the possibilities of con-federalism and the need for trans-frontier cooperation.  The need to progress on the structure of Ukraine stands out sharply at this time when there are real possibilities of ecalatory risks.  There is a need for confidence-building measures to reach out to different layers of society in a cumulative process.
 
Advances on the Special Status would be an important step in the de-escalation of tensions.  Discussions on the Special Status must be carried out by those living in Ukraine.  However, government representatives as well as non-governmental organizations in Russia, Germany and France  can also contribute actively.
 
 
  Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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