Maybe you think there have been said enough about Ukrainian situation but I want to look at this problem from another perspective. Since a few months when Ukrainian protests begun we did not think it would develop this way. Recent weeks all world’s media were concentrated on using excessive means of force against the protesters by Ukrainian police at Kiev’s Maidan. I propose you a brief repetition and analysis of Polish contribution to the so called “peace agreement”.
Trigger – the need to integrate with the EU
The crisis has begun in November 2013 when Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych has rejected the trade deal with the European Union that would put Ukraine on the route of integration. Moreover, Ukrainians had enough of high level of corruption and arrogance of their country’s high authorities. Ukrainian economy needs EU funds and being a part of trade agreement would be the first step to improve its situation. If we look at Polish and Ukrainian economies, there is a significant difference.
The economy of Poland is now 3 times bigger than Ukrainian. From the moment of Polish political transformation that has started in 1989 this country could derive from Western experiences but Ukraine was left alone under Russian influence area. And Russia is the key player to destabilize the region. Russian foreign policy is aimed at frighten its neighbour and it is time to answer this aggressive policy by reasonable means like strong European statement along with the US President who is like hidden in the shadow without expected reaction. Recent weeks thousands of people have walked on the streets in Ukrainian cities, but the main stage of actions was Kiev. Extremely incomprehensible events took place, police started to shoot to protesters at Maidan with live-ammunition. The final result is about 100 people dead and 200 missing. President Yanukovych was claiming that police forces has nothing to do with that. Take a look at this these horrifying scenes from CNN coverage(viewer discretion advised):
“Ukrainian Peace Deal” and the role of Polish Diplomacy
Night from 20th to 21st of February was a decisive turn in the crisis. High Representative of the Union, Catherine Ashton has sent three EU foreign ministers to negotiate with the government and the opposition. Foreign ministers of Poland (Radosław Sikorski), France (Laurent Fabius) and Germany (Frank- Walter Steinmeier) came to Ukraine to report the situation and negotiate. But the most important negotiators were Sikorski and Steinmeier because French FM went to China for some planned meeting. On 21st February they announced that the agreement has been reached. What were the points of the agreement? The first point was about restoring Ukrainian Constitution of 2004 and forming National Unity Government. The second about balancing the powers of the President, the government and the Parliament till September 2014(constitutional reform). Then third point was about the presidential election that have to be conducted no later than December 2014. Another point considered taking care of investigation on acts of violence that took place, monitored by the authorities, the opposition and the Council of Europe. Further parts contained many declarations from both sides like: not to impose the state of emergency by the authorities, both parties should refrain from the use of violence, another amnesty adopted by the government, handing over all illegal weapons in 24 hours. The last point of the agreement was a call from Foreign Ministers o Poland, Germany and France to end all violence and confrontation immediately. The whole text of the agreement has been published on Polish Foreign Ministry website(link below the text). Take a look at CNN Interview with Polish FM after negotiations:
What was the result? Violence has ended indeed, no one was killed after signing the agreement but something more has been done. Ukrainian Parliament has impeached President Viktor Yanukovych and new temporary government lead by Arseniy Yatsenyuk has been created. Yulia Tymoschenko has been released from prison. Ukraine shall have early election this year. The Constitution of 2004 has been restored. The efforts of EU Ministers including Minister Sikorski have paid off but just for a few days…
On 1 March 2014 the President of Russia requested sending troops to Ukrainian Crimea to “protect the interests of Russia and Russian people living there”. Of course Russian Parliament unanimously approved Putin’s demand to send its troops to Ukraine. Russian presence in Ukraine is illegal, it is a breach of international law and sovereignty of this country. Russian troops are not shooting but started to occupy administrative buildings. Ukrainian government mobilized its troops and called military reservists on Saturday(March 1). Fortunately, at present there is no open confrontation.
But what can the International Community do? Economic sanctions could be imposed by the EU which is also a threat to EU economy. European Union and Russia are economically interdependent and that would cause big problems also to Russia. UN Security Council was ineffective because Russia has the right to veto all resolutions and used that once again. There is also another possibility like Poland’s request to secure its borders by NATO, answering by the same military pressure like President Putin. International Community cannot stay untouched, it is time to show that Russia cannot threat anyone this way again. It is a common tactic when Russia do not have strong enough arguments they go so far as to military intervention. What Ukrainian government should do is to reinstate act respecting of language minorities – Russia invoke the abolishion of this act by Ukrainian Parliament. The World cannot let Ukraine to became the next Georgia where Russia could perform military actions without strong enough reaction of International Political Scene. USA, EU and NATO should act decidedly, I hope without involvement of military actions, though I am afraid words will not be enough. We cannot let Ukraine to be alone!
“Ukrainian Agreement” of Feb 21, 2014 published on Polish Foreign Ministry website:
Reuters on Polish Diplomacy: