GSAC Analytics

Restoring the occupied part of Donbass, are the local elections on March 31 real there and the negotiating logic of Kiev

Restoring the occupied part of Donbass, are the local elections on March 31 real there and the negotiating logic of Kiev

As for the announced amounts for the restoration of the now occupied part of Donbass (15-21 billion US dollars), the specific figures, in my opinion, are secondary. Because in any case they will be significant. Turning the occupied territories into a kind of “Somalia” with an economy and infrastructure destroyed to the ground, with a depressed population deceived by propaganda is nothing new, all this is the signature of the Kremlin as an occupier. And there they perfectly understand the cost of the issue of restoring all this. Therefore, the intermediate goals of the further hybrid offensive of the Russian Federation against Ukraine are incl. – a) return these separate areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions (ORDLO) to Ukraine on their own terms; b) to hang their restoration on Kiev, but under their control, plus evade responsibility for the occupation and the damage it inflicted. Therefore, one of the tasks of Kiev is to prevent all this, incl. as part of the work of the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG.

As for the already hackneyed question of holding local elections in ORDLO on March 31, 2020, I see the logic of the process as follows (discarding the option of surrender):

There will be no elections on March 31, 2020. For a combination of reasons, the main one of which is that the Kremlin will not fulfill two basic conditions for the safe conduct of these very elections, namely: the withdrawal of the Russian occupation troops and the transfer of control over the border to Ukraine. Kiev does not intend to overstep these “red lines”. I am firmly convinced that Moscow will not change its position in this regard (and even less will it implement these conditions of Kiev) until January 30, 2021. Why is this date important? Because Ukraine has consistently upheld the position that the elections should be held according to Ukrainian law, therefore, for March 31, they must be announced no later than January 30.

Also, in Ukrainian logic, elections must meet OSCE criteria. Whose mission with a complex name should arrive at the place BEFORE the election is scheduled at the invitation of the Ukrainian side. In our case, at the beginning of next year. The OSCE will not receive an invitation from Kiev, since Ukraine will not be able to guarantee the security of the mission on the territory not under its control. Why not – see two conditions above.

Does Kyiv in general and TCG in particular understand the dead end of the situation around March 31? I think yes. Should Kiev push the Kremlin to fulfill two basic conditions by offering its own options (albeit tacitly confident that Moscow will reject them)? I also think so. Including to demonstrate their constructive position to “deeply concerned” European partners (concerned, among other things, with Kiev’s unwillingness to cross the “red lines”). Well, this is again a question of responsibility – to clearly demonstrate who is really to blame for disrupting the elections on March 31, 2021 …

Volodimir Kopchak, comment to the Zerkalo.az portal