In an interview to EADaily, Deputy Director of the CIS Institute Igor Shishkin comments on Russia-Ukraine-Novorossiya relations.
Are Russian defense companies involved in the supply of spare parts for Ukraine’s military equipment? If yes, can we say that they are privy to the killing of peaceful civilians in Donbass?
We can’t be 100% sure here. There were reports about a delivery of engines from the Yaroslavl Motor Plant and their use for armored vehicles in Ukraine. But the plant refuted them. So, here we may deal with a resale by third or even fourth parties, for example, in Eastern Europe. There are no proofs of direct supplies.
But here we have a much more serious problem: the fuel used by Ukraine’s military equipment. As we know, Russia continues supplying diesel fuel to Ukraine. In 2016, we heard that the Russians stopped the supplies but later we heard that they resumed them. Officially, they are doing this for peaceful purposes. But even if this is true and the Ukrainians use the Russian fuel only for tractors and harvesters, this allows them to use all the other fuel they have for their tanks and armored vehicles.
It is also known that the Belarusian oil refineries send oil products to Ukraine. Those products are made from Russian oil. We are unable to force the Belarusians to stop the supplies but we have not even tried to do this.
If Ukraine breaches the Minsk agreements, should Russia impose economic sanctions against Germany and France (for example, to impose on ban on their cars, alcohol or perfume) as the guarantors of those agreements?
I think we have the right to do it. But we should think twice here. Just remember the last scandal concerning Siemens turbines in Crimea. We need such turbines but they are subject to the sanctions. So, we should not act rashly here.
As far as the Ukrainians are concerned, we must use sanctions against them. We will lose almost nothing, while for the Kyiv regime and its bosses in Berlin and Paris, this will be painful. Once we stop our contacts with Ukraine, Germany and France will have to spend much more to keep it afloat. I don’t mean that they will abandon Ukraine but they will suffer serious losses. As a result, those in Kyiv will get less and will start fighting each other for each penny. For the time being, the West keeps them at peace but we can and must try to stop this “honeymoon.”
I think we should be the first to impose a visa regime with Ukraine. This will make it harder for Ukrainian guest workers to enter and stay in Russia. As of today, we have as many as 2,000,000 Ukrainians working in our territory and they send huge money home. Most of them are strong men who can and want to support their families. If they go back home, they will cause serious problems to their regime as the latter will hardly be able to provide them with jobs.
Should the Ukrainians who have taken part in the “anti-terrorist operation” in Donbass be regarded as terrorists in Russia? And should such people be allowed to seek jobs in our territory?
Naturally, all of them must be proclaimed personas non grata. And those who will enter our territory will have to be arrested and prosecuted. Our prosecutor’s office has a case concerning punitive activities in Donbass. So, all those people must be made part of it. If not proved guilty, they will have to be sent back to Ukraine, to be more precise, to Donbass, because de jure Donbass is part of Ukraine.
Ukrainian nationalists keep saying that they are planning to invade Russia (Kuban, Voronezh and some other regions). Should our special services wait until they do this or should we regard them as terrorists (like we regard ISIL fighters) and start destroying them outside our territory – in Ukraine or wherever they are?
All those who threaten us with terrorism must be punished according to our laws. The Israelis destroy such people but I don’t think that we should act like them. There is a civil war in Ukraine and the side opposing the Kyiv regime has the right to react to its terrorist threats or acts. We know how many Novorossian heroes have so far been killed by terrorists from Ukraine. The Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics have the right to punish them. This is not our mission. But we should continue investigating the cases concerning terrorist threats. As soon as the Kyiv regime is dethroned, those people will face charges. We have lots of evidence against them and some day they will be punished. We must not send special purpose agents for killing somebody like Parubiy – the game is not worth the candle. In politics, one must be sensible rather than emotional. And one must always keep in mind his own interests. For the time being, we should investigate such case and prepare necessary legal ground. And we must punish such people and must not cry when Novorossian fighters send them where they belong.
By Roman Protsenko