Sunday, November 28

It announced “humanitarian” support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine… Is the confrontation between Moscow, Kiev and its Western allies imminent?

Moscow- Another decisive step taken by Moscow towards economic integration with the unilaterally declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed on November 15, 2021 a decree on providing humanitarian support to the population of the two republics, in the first reaction to the military escalation of the states The United States and its allies in the Black Sea basin.

This is the most serious shift in recent years, in which the Kremlin sees a way out of the impasse that has arisen in the Donbass, and because of what it considers the refusal of the Kiev authorities to comply with the Minsk agreements (on the cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, the establishment of a buffer zone, the withdrawal of heavy weapons), and a strong response to the lack of The European Union’s commitment to the protocol to end the war in eastern Ukraine, in one form or another: the first reaction to the military escalation provoked by the United States and its allies in the Black Sea basin.

Putin’s decree allows unlimited deliveries of products from the two provinces to the Russian market, and participation in state purchases in the Russian Federation.

The decree was keen to point out that the decision was taken due to the ongoing economic blockade and the bad situation that has arisen in Donbass and Lugansk, as a result of the coronavirus epidemic.

The timing of the presidential decree, which Ukraine protested, raises questions about its goals and its connection to the recent developments in the troubled region, especially the military exercises of the United States and its allies in the Black Sea basin, which Moscow considered provocative.

Putin’s decree allows unlimited deliveries of Donetsk and Luhansk products to the Russian market (Reuters)

Economic support

In this context, Dmitriy Babich, a researcher in international affairs, believes that the direct goal of Putin’s decree is to support the two separatist republics economically, to confront the sanctions and blockade imposed on them by Ukraine.

And Babich considered – in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that the Kremlin’s decision came at the same time as an indirect response to the maneuvers conducted by Washington in the Black Sea, and a message to the administration of US President Joe Biden that Moscow does not intend under any circumstances to make changes in its policy, whatever the nature and size of the pressures. .

He also expressed his belief that the Kremlin no longer believes in the illusions of understanding with the West, especially after the fall of the bet on the improvement, even slight, that might occur in relations with Washington after Donald Trump lost the presidency in the United States, adding that there are indications that Russia has shifted from the policy of “defense.” Hard” to “soft” counterattack.

He added that the decision-makers in Moscow had become more certain that the West had completely abandoned the policy of compromise, as was evident during the recent events in Belarus, where the country’s president was installed “from a distance”, and the country was placed before the specter of civil war, despite the availability of capabilities at the time to put pressure on President Alexander Lukashenko to carry out democratic reforms, as Washington was calling for.

And while Babich emphasizes Russia’s unwillingness to join the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, he is, however, likely to eventually join the Russian Federation, despite the trouble this would cause for the Kremlin and the effects it would have on Russian interests outside the borders.

In front of the reality

As for the political analyst of international affairs, Vadim Yelfimov, he described Putin’s decision as the optimal peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine, through measures that reduce the burden of sanctions imposed on Lugansk and Donetsk, and at the same time “neutralize” Kiev’s efforts to “militarize” the Black Sea or cause a Russian-American clash in his basin.

He added that Moscow’s contribution to economic recovery and development within the two separatist republics, would mark the beginning of the end for the Western government in Kiev, and would lead to the sympathy and understanding of “wise men” in Ukraine of the need to defuse the crisis with Russia, and prevent any military clash between the two sides.

He also explained that “more than 7 years of war in eastern Ukraine was more than completely enough to show the state of fatigue that Kiev has reached,” adding that Ukraine, which has not fought alone once in its history, has been unable in the current conflict to cause an imbalance in the balance of power and rules clash in their favour, even with the help of the West.

He concluded that the signed decree puts an end to the suspended situation in the region, and supports the serious economic changes that have taken place recently there, namely, the establishment of production and infrastructure management systems according to Russian models.

The roots of the crisis

For about 7 years, Russian-Ukrainian relations have been in their most tense phase since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Economic integration between Russia and the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk would lead to negative economic and moral effects on the authorities in Kiev.

The roots of the current crisis go back to the Maidan revolution in the Ukrainian capital, which led to a split at the level of institutions and the street between pro-Russian and pro-European Unionists.

The crisis interacted to lead to what became known as the War of Referendums, as the 2014 referendum in Crimea led to its accession to Russia, amid sharp opposition from Ukraine and the European Union.

As for Donetsk and Donbass, the protests against the new authorities in Kiev developed into an armed conflict, which began with the armed takeover of state administration buildings, the failure of negotiations with the central authorities to resolve the issue of the status of the Russian language, and constitutional reform leading to the decentralization of regions to autonomy.

Like a snowball, the crisis turned into an armed conflict, before Donetsk and Luhansk announced their separation from Ukraine, and started a war with it.

Moscow does not recognize the two separatist republics, but Russian officials have emphasized more than once that their country may intervene to help the Russian-speaking population of the two regions.

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