Political scientists explain the situation
Vladimir Putin began a meeting of the Security Council – immediately after the heads of the DPR and LPR addressed him with a request to recognize their republics. This question is at the time of this writing and is being considered by the Security Council. The experts we interviewed do not rule out that recognition may take place. And they talk about its possible consequences.
Russia has already received on its territory over 60 thousand refugees from the self-proclaimed republics, and is going to accept over a million people. In parallel with this, the head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, claims that the Ukrainian army is breaking through to the Russian border. There is even indirect confirmation: on the Russian-Ukrainian border, the FSB checkpoint was blown up by an explosion.
However, dry figures still do not indicate a critical level of aggression in the Donbass. Over the past few days, the number of shellings per day has increased from 2–3 to 60, but this still falls short of 2014–2015, when the parties to the conflict smashed part of Donetsk and Debaltseve to zero.
Nevertheless, the appeals of representatives of the DPR and LPR to Russia for help cannot be ignored. For example, Eduard Basurin, a representative of the people's militia of the DPR, said that the self-proclaimed republic needs moral, financial and military assistance from Moscow.
“Recognition of the DPR and LPR should be used according to the principle of “red lines”. If France and Germany cannot force Ukraine to comply with the Minsk agreements, Moscow must push Kiev itself. For example, you can say that if the Ukrainian authorities do not adopt laws on the special status of Donbass and a general amnesty within two months. If this does not happen, then Ukraine does not need Donetsk and Luhansk and Russia will recognize their independence. That is, Ukraine must make its own choice, ”Vladimir Zharikhin, deputy head of the Institute of CIS Countries, told MK.
According to him, after recognition, the DPR and LPR will have problems with investments, travel abroad, and so on, but people will no longer die there. As an example, Zharikhin cited Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where, according to the expert, peace reigned with the advent of Russian troops.
“But I would not want to accept the DPR and LPR as part of Russia, because then accusations of annexation will fall, as was already the case with Crimea. Enough close economic and humanitarian cooperation. In the future, adequate people who can negotiate with the DPR and LPR can come to power in Ukraine. Perhaps they will form a Union State following the example of Russia and Belarus, or a confederation,” says the deputy head of the Institute of CIS Countries.
In turn, political scientist Alexei Makarkin believes that recognition of the DPR and LPR will bury the Minsk agreements, and replace them agreements between Russia, Donetsk and Lugansk on military support will come.
“This scheme will be similar to what was in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but with one difference: there are no borders in Donbass. According to the constitution of the DPR and LPR, their borders coincide with the borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Accordingly, the question will arise what to do, for example, with Mariupol. The appearance of Russian troops in the Donbas does not guarantee the cessation of hostilities. Firefights will be difficult to stop because there is no clearly defined front line in the region, but there are so-called “gray zones”. You need to be prepared for any surprises, ”Makarkin explains to MK.
At the same time, the political scientist does not exclude that the international reaction to the recognition of the DPR and LPR may be ambiguous. “For example, EU members may say that Moscow does not seek to seize Kiev, so the most damaging sanctions can be abandoned for now. In this case, it may be possible to save Nord Stream 2. But it will be difficult, to put it mildly, to continue building relations with the United States,” the expert suggests.
Denis Denisov, head of the Institute for Peacekeeping Initiatives and Conflictology, agrees that the war will not stop. He told MK that he sees no point in recognizing the DPR and LPR and does not believe that such a decision will be made. In his opinion, while we see how the parties are whipping up hysteria, trying to use it in an information war against each other. At the same time, no one thinks about ordinary people who suffer the most because of this.
“Firstly, there was an official statement from the Kremlin that this step does not correlate with the Minsk agreements. Secondly, there are no positive changes for the DPR and LPR after recognition, and it was possible to recognize just like that in 2014, but then this was not done,” says Denisov.
Head of the Institute initiatives and conflict studies warns that recognition will destroy the structure of the Minsk agreements, which, although criticized from all sides, still remain indispensable. “If the Minsk agreements are broken, Ukraine will painlessly relieve itself of extremely uncomfortable obligations in the Donbass, and Russia will receive a new package or packages of sanctions.
Putin made a statement at the Security Council on the situation in Donbass: video
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