The Crossroads of Special Operations

Saturday, May 8, 2021

For Many, a Nation That Seems Less Free From Moscow’s Dominance Than Ever

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Ukrainians have been promised sweeping change in the seven months since their collective anger chased the last president out of his mansion.

The low-grade war against Russia and its proxies in the east would be brought to a close, with Ukraine kept whole. A new chapter in political and economic relations would be opened with Europe. A concerted effort to reform the government would begin by fighting pervasive corruption.

Last week, President Petro O. Poroshenko brought measures addressing each of these issues to Parliament on the same day.

The first two passed. The third failed. Mr. Poroshenko tried to present the occasion as a historic victory for Ukraine, leading the Parliament in a rousing version of “Ukraine Is Not Dead Yet,” the national anthem. He said the moment was Ukraine’s most important since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
But there is a sense both here and abroad that Ukraine is less independent from Moscow than ever. “Capitulation” is the word of choice among politicians critical of the government and independent analysts.

Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian leader, they say, got everything he wanted by attacking Ukraine overtly in Crimea and covertly in the southeast.

The vague cease-fire terms in the southeast are likely to only freeze the conflict. It could leave Russia’s thuggish proxies running the area and create a permanent geographic Taser that Moscow could use to zap Ukraine at will, leaving it unstable and less than sovereign.

The association agreement with the European Union — described by its advocates as the catalyst for broad reform — has been delayed until the beginning of 2016 because of Russian objections, leaving its fate uncertain.

“One cannot achieve peace by surrendering to the aggressor’s demands,” Oleh Tyahnybok, the head of the nationalist Svoboda Party, wrote in a blog post on Sunday. “No matter how much Putin threatens us with a full-scale aggression, we must not make concessions.”

On Monday, both sides were supposedly strengthening the shaky cease-fire by drawing their forces even farther apart. The truce has held since Sept. 5, albeit with constant artillery or tank barrages.

Under a new memorandum announced Saturday in Minsk, Belarus, where the cease-fire talks have been held, military formations would be frozen as they were on Friday and heavy weapons pulled back 15 kilometers, or about nine miles, from that line.

Read More:For Many, a Nation That Seems Less Free From Moscow’s Dominance Than Ever – NYTimes.com.

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