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The Dual Tragedy of Ukraine and the Way Out


Ukraine went, in the last three years, through two tragedies: the first was the 2014 crisis, which was followed by the annexation of Crimea by Russia, and the actual division of Ukraine between the pro-Russian majority in the eastern part of the country, and the pro-western part of the center- west. The east is deteriorating economically, boycotted by many, and the west is far from being prosperous. The second tragedy is that the world lost its interest in Ukraine's situation.
I remember talking to statesmen in some of the most important European countries, in the European Union and in the United States in 2014-15, while the major issue on the agenda was Ukraine. When I wanted to raise my usual item: the Israeli-Palestinian non existing peace process, I understood that it was seen like a spoiler: the world was worried that the Ukrainian crisis would have ramifications on other states, that violence would continue, that the cold war would reemerge, and that the annexation of Crimea would become a gruesome precedent. Since things calmed down, the Ukraine issue went off the table.

The American-led NATO will not intervene to help a non-NATO state. The Trump administration will refer to the Crimea issue as it refers to the Occupied Territories by Israel ( namely, that the Israeli settlements on these territories do not "contribute" to peace, but not taking any action against the phenomenon). The low level violence will be tolerated, a certain amount of help will continue to be given to the Ukrainian government, assistance will be given to recover the legal system, and the status quo will prevail.

The general analysis in the west is the following: a confrontation with Putin's Russia should be prevented, almost at any cost. A deal inwhich he is allowed to continue and dominate Crimea and east Ukraine, in exchange for ending his support for the Syrian's president, Bashar el Assad, seems in the cards. A future Ukrainian membership in the EU is not considered, not only because Ukraine is still far from meeting the minimal demands of membership of this club, but because Putin sees such a step as conducive to membership in NATO, which is something he will not be ready to swallow. The Minsk agreements will not be implemented. A significant federalization of Ukraine, in which the eastern Oblasts will be very much autonomous, is, perhaps the only solution, cannot become a reality, because of a parliamentary majority against it. The past attempts ended in violence, and there are no signs that future attempts will end up differently. The status quo is bad, but all the other options may be much more risky.

Against this background, the question is whether there are people in Ukraine today, from both camps, who are ready to sit together, overtly or covertly, and discuss seriously the future of their country. Speaking from the experience of the Arab-Israeli (belated) agreements – nobody could do the job for us. You know the problems, you know the solutions, you remember the history, you are aware of all the nuances, and nobody wants to save your country more than yourselves.

See also:

Stolen future of Ukraine?

A Pun on the Minsk Subject

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