Poroshenko faces hurdles despite big Ukraine vote win
DONETSK, October 29 (RIA Novosti) – Kiev has withdrawn from the delineation agreement it signed with Donetsk authorities without any explanation, the deputy prime minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said Wednesday.
“A delineation was agreed between the opposing forces, but Kiev recalled the signature of its representative, Gen. Dumanskiy, from the document without giving any reason,” Andrei Purgin told reporters.
The delineation is a key condition laid down in the ceasefire agreement between Kiev and the independence supporters. It should serve as a preparatory stage for the withdrawal of heavy weaponry from both sides that will contribute to stabilizing the relations between them.
In September, the ceasefire agreement in southeastern Ukraine was reached during the meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine. It was agreed that a 30-kilometer (19-mile) buffer zone separating Kiev forces and independence supporters of the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR) would be created.
DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko stated on October 11 that the delineation agreement between the independence supporters and Kiev had been signed. The official said the delineation would reflect the line of contact between the two opposing sides as of September 19.
20 Oct. 2014 – RIANOVOSTI
Monday’s heavy shelling of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk undermines the negotiation process of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Kiev, DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko said.
“No more talks about ceasefire, of course we are not going to sit [at the negotiating table] with Kiev,” he said.
There have been regular reports of the shelling of Donetsk ever since the Ukrainian forces and independence supporters of the eastern regions struck a ceasefire deal on September 5 in Minsk. The opposing sides have been trading blame for violating the ceasefire though the monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said the truce was generally holding.
The military confrontation in the east of Ukraine started in mid-April when the Kiev authorities sent troops to suppress the independence supporters in the eastern regions of the country.
On October 19, DPR Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Purgin said the self-proclaimed people’s republic would never become part of a united Ukraine.
Shelling Kills Four Civilians, Injures Nine in Donetsk: City Council
“As a result of military action on October 18 in Donetsk, four civilians were killed and nine sustained shrapnel injuries of varying severity,” the Donetsk city council said in a statement.
“Starting 13:40 (10:30 GMT) on October 18 and until 3:00 (00:00 GMT) on October 19 shelling was carried out in the city.”
The areas most affected by the fighting were the Petrovsky, Kirov, Kuibyshev and Kievsky districts, where several houses were destroyed. Fighting continued on Saturday morning, according to the city council.
Meanwhile, deputy commander of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) militia Eduard Basurin told RIA Novosti that fighting continues near the Donetsk airport, the village of Nikishino and the city of Dokuchaievsk.
“The shelling is very intense. Five militiamen have been killed, 30 sustained injuries,” Basurin said.
In mid-April, Kiev launched a military operation against independence supporters in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Some 3,700 people have been killed and over 9,000 have sustained injuries since the beginning of the armed conflict, according to the latest UN estimates.
On September 5, the sides agreed to a ceasefire at a meeting in Minsk of the trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine. On September 19, the Contact Group met again to agree on more details regarding the implementation of the ceasefire. However, both sides have subsequently accused each other of violating the truce.
27 October 2014
Poroshenko faces hurdles despite big Ukraine vote win
The 49-year-old chocolate billionaire said that the drubbing handed to pro-Russian parties demonstrated “strong and irreversible backing to Ukraine’s path to Europe.”
But the near-euphoria in Poroshenko’s circles seemed to overlook the strong preference by Russian oil- and gas-dependent EU nations not to upset Moscow any further.
Some European capitals have even implied that direct membership talks with Kiev were premature — a view that folds into the Kremlin’s broader vision of Ukraine as part of its historic domain.
Then there is Poroshenko’s near-impotence on the ground. The Ukrainian president has been able to do little but express outrage at plans by the well-armed and confident pro-independence fighters to stage their own leadership polls next Sunday.
“Poroshenko and his government will have a difficult time resolving the task of moving into Europe,” said Yuriy Romanenko of Kiev’s Stratagema political research group.
“The war will also go on for a long time. The standoff there could continue for several years,” the Ukrainian analyst said.
Germany’s Berenberg Bank economist Christian Schulz said Poroshenko’s new government would have to start by “negotiating potentially unpopular compromises with the separatists” that gave them a substantial enough reason to lay down their guns.
Schulz said the poor performance by radical Ukrainian nationalists worked in Poroshenko’s favour.
But he also pointed to Russia’s ambiguous stance and the fear of it fomenting a “frozen conflict” in the vital industrial east that keeps Ukraine impoverished and destabilised for the foreseeable future.
“Moscow has said it will accept (the parliamentary) election results — but also election results in the separatist areas of Donetsk and Lugansk on 2 November,” the German economist cautioned.
The Capital Economic consultancy in London added that the Russian-speaking pro-independence leaders were not going to take kindly to the parliamentary election’s support for the shift toward Europe sought principally by their bitter rivals in the Ukrainian-speaking west.
“The election of pro-Western politicians is unlikely to appease rebels in the east of the country,” Capital Economic said.
Poroshenko may have as difficult a time convincing EU leaders. Many took turns on Monday to promise to work with his new team.
But top officials in Kiev have grumbled in private that they have so far failed to turn their words into action that keeps Kiev out of Moscow’s reach.
Ukraine this year signed an historic pact on closer relations with the EU. It was the abrupt rejection of that pact by the then Russian-backed president last year that led to his ouster and sparked the current crisis.
But western European governments — with economies stuck in or near recession — are already concerned about the political impact of workers from the poorer east moving freely into their shrinking job markets.
Ukraine further has developed a track record of failing to honour commitments to shackle a corruption problem that has made barren state budgets dependent on foreign lending and left governments here unable to plan long-term.
Poroshenko has promised to wean the public off Soviet-era subsidies and encourage competition between private firms that could introduce Ukraine to Western standards and ready it for EU membership.
Capital Economic said with a note of optimism that “with a parliamentary majority in place, Ukraine’s reformers will have the green light to continue tackling issues such as reducing energy subsidies and moving toward inflation-targeting monetary policy.”
But other analysts said Ukrainian governments and parliaments have disappointed foreign investors for too long for them to be trusted.
“Whether or not Ukraine manages to break away from the historically poor track record in delivering in economic policies and wider reforms still remains an open question,” Moscow’s VTB Capital investment bank said.