пятница, 8 августа 2014 г.

Ukraine Crisis: What Should Have Been Done

Megi Benia, Georgia

Ukrainian Crisis is a process which highly concerns the world community and first of all the European Union as it influences various aspects of this community, such as economical, political or defense issues. All the windows of opportunity for multilateral talks to end the violence in Ukraine have been closing immediately, although there were several things that should have been done in order not to make situation such critical and in this article I will try to demonstrate them.

Let’s recall how it all started - everything began when in November 2013, widespread protests broke out in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. These protests responded to President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to back out of the plan to sign a far-reaching agreement with the European Union (EU). The plan would  establish a closer political and economic relationship with the EU, and would signal Ukraine’s interest in joining the twenty-eight nation bloc. Pro-EU Ukrainians took to the streets, hoping that Yanukovich would retract his decision. He did not, and instead signed a $15 billion trade deal with Russia. Pro-EU demonstrators rejected Yanukovich’s decision to deepen Ukraine’s ties with Russia and continued their demonstrations. Moscow controlled the territory of present-day Ukraine for centuries, up until 1991, and many protesters did not want to see hard-won gains, specifically those tied to political and economic independence, undone.

In January 2014, Yanukovich’s government implemented anti-democratic legislation restricting political dissent. The legislation banned the installation of tents and stages in public spaces, criminalized the use of masks and helmets at protests, and outlawed the slandering of government officials. Facing immense public pressure and criticism from the international community, the government repealed the laws just two weeks after they had been enacted. Anti-Yanukovich demonstrations and fears about Russia’s sway over Ukraine continued. In late February, the violence reached an all-time high with rising death tolls among protesters and the police. Under growing pressure, Yanukovich fled Kiev and the parliament voted to oust him from government. After this turn of events, the chiefs of the riot police and security forces signaled their interest in withdrawing from all conflict.

In March, Russian Parliament approved Vladimir Putin's request to use force in Ukraine to protect Russian interests. Pro-Russian rallies were held in several Ukrainian cities outside Crimea, including the second-biggest city Kharkiv. Barack Obama told Mr. Putin to pull forces back to bases.

On 6 of March, Crimea's parliament voted to join Russia and scheduled a referendum for 16 March. On 16 of March, Official results from Crimea's secession referendum said 97% of voters backed a proposal to join Russia and on 18 of March Putin signed a treaty absorbing Crimea into Russia it was the first time the Kremlin expanded the country's borders since World War II. Kiev said the conflict reached a "military stage" after a Ukrainian soldier was shot and killed by gunmen who stormed a military base in Simferopol. Crimea's pro-Kremlin police department said a member of the local self-defense forces was also killed in the same incident.

We agree that all countries on the international arena have their own interests and sometimes some of them, especially the most powerful ones have global interests, but we also must remember that all countries have the right for self-govern and all of them have to respect this right.

There were several things, that had to be done both inside of the Ukraine and outside from the International Community.

First of all, when the Euromaidan had demanded cooperation with European Union and at the same time the opposing demands had been increasing in the Easter Ukraine and Crimea, it was important to use the mechanisms of negotiation and mediation, but this had not be done. Opposing to this Russian Language was banned as a second official language of the State and of course this was one of the main reasons of increasing discontent and aggression from the Russian speaking population of Ukraine.

Secondly, in any newly erupted conflicts it is recommendable to prevent it in the beginning, until the tensions increases and grows into something irreversible, however if the armed conflict erupts anyway, the active involvement of international and local powers are highly essential to achieve a ceasefire. The latter is vital to protect human lives.

The most important thing in any situation in our daily life is to safe human life, to protect women and children, to make losses minimal on both sides and finally to achieve consensus in any debates.

 Maybe it is possible to achieve some results with weapons, but no victory and success is worth even one human life. We should build a state, where every single human life is valuable, is respected and protected so that entire community is safe and valued as well.

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