Rupturing diplomatic relations with Russia: Is Ukraine ready?

Author : Oleksiy Krysenko

Source : 112 Ukraine

Should Ukraine maintain diplomatic relations with the country-aggressor after annexation of Crimea and Donbas war?
11:49, 15 February 2017

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Historically, Russian-Ukrainian relations has been quite tensed. The countries have long and complicated relations, and it is even difficult to compare them with any other countries of the world. Probably, in some positive dimension, they could be compared to Britain and the United States, but we must say that the latter have never reached this level of relationship. We basically had a projection with the negative prospect. And I think that we are moving towards the so-called hostile dyads, such as North and South Korea, India and Pakistan. That is, countries have some significant joint historical "background", but in the modern world, their relationship is in the plane of the outstanding problems.

It should be noted that in terms of the military aggression, the diplomatic relations is something quite awkward? They simply cannot exist. They were supposed to be severed. Especially because of its unilateral military aggression, Russia has destroyed the core of the political and legal basis of bilateral relations. For example, the "Big" contract (ed -. The Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and Russia, 1997), the Budapest Memorandum, and a number of our contracts.

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But on the other hand, there is such a term as "real politics" in political science. And in that situation, our Western partners claimed that we did not sever the relationship, because there is hope for the implementation of a peace plan. And for the peace plan could be practically implement, practical diplomatic relations should be saved. Because of this, diplomatic relations have not been severed, the visa regime was not introduced, and several of these steps were not taken as a kind of demarche in early 2014.

As for Minsk and Normandy negotiation processes, these “tools” were just randomly created. There are no other formats, so the partied used these ones. First to the Normandy format, then to Minsk talks. They were looking for handy tools and platforms to solve pressing issues, for example, in the military sphere. How to stop the military confrontation, or at least weaken it? But these processes do not have an autonomous diplomatic status, thus causing impossibility of severing diplomatic relations with Russia.

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Actually, Minsk format was used because our Western partners have “tied” their sanctions to implementation of the Minsk agreements. Otherwise, Minsk format would not exist. Because it does not work as it should have been working.

Norman format is just this kind of marketplace "for time check." That is to say, the parties met and talked, agreed to negotiate and departed.

Diplomatic Ukraine-Russia relations are still in a serious plane. Because there are a large number of infrastructure issues that need to be regulated. For example, transit and transporting, gas supply. This requires that the enterprises of Ukraine and Russia to cooperate in this area. If you break off diplomatic relations, on which base these companies will cooperate?

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There are a lot of the infrastructure issues tied to a third party, Europe, which requires any kind of relations between Ukraine and Russia. And this is not that simple to severe those relationships. But then the question arises why not to reduce diplomatic relations to the most minimum level?

For example, Ukraine could introduce a visa regime. In general, this question is on the agenda, and I think that we are moving towards it.

Such a step requires some strong political will and decision. Because in a situation of military aggression, we do not have even a visa regime, and the border with the aggressor country is the same as with Belarus. It is at least awkward.

Comparing our situation with the Russian aggression against Georgia in 2008, it should be said that in that situation the Georgian society was monolithic in the question of who is the aggressor. Unfortunately, long-term information campaign against Ukraine, which has existed in the Russian mass media and some Ukrainian media, has created an acute problem. Large part of the Ukrainians who live in the east do not believe that the situation is related to the Russian aggression in Ukraine, it is not obvious. It can be said that a significant number of people living in Ukraine, unfortunately, they do not understand the exact origins of this aggression. We should also remember about hundreds of thousands of migrants who travel back and forth. For them, the severance of diplomatic relations is something negative and undesirable.

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That is, it seems that the problem lies in the disintegration of Ukrainian society. Georgians were almost 100% socially mobilized and clearly perceived the situation.

Also, it is reasonable to over reducing the level of diplomatic relations, for example, to the status of charge d'affair. Neither Ukraine, nor Russia has its ambassadors. There are temporary charge d'affairs, and it some extent restricts the freedom of action, because they are not independent heads of embassies and only replace the ambassadors during their absence.

It would be a signal of the Ukrainian society. Ordinary people usually do not understand what is happening. On the one hand they hear about hostile actions and that the Russian Federation is doing everything to undermine the situation in our country, and on the other, that we do not have our ambassador in Russia. Maybe, Ukraine should remove the Embassy, and leave only the consular service.

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There are many countries, where we have no embassies due to the fact that we do not consider them strategic in the development of diplomatic relations. If we have a war with Russia, why do we keep the whole embassy in Moscow. This is a question that lies on the surface.

That is, society must receive a signal that even a trip to Russia is something risky. A person could "like" something on "Facebook" or make a "repost," and then when go to Russia, she would be captured. There were lots of cases, when innocent people were accused of espionage. People should know that the trip to Russia is dangerous. Because people see that the embassy is working, no visa regime is introduced, so they just buy a ticket a go to Russia.

And I would like to add that in Ukraine, in addition to the consular department in Kyiv, there are consulates general in Kharkiv, Odesa, and Lviv. Why do we need three consulates general in this situation? Obviously, they are working in the foreign Intelligence format. Especially in Kharkiv and Odesa. Therefore, Ukraine needs to reduce the consulate general at the level of bilateral relations, because they are "toxic" institutions in our country. One department of the Consulate General in Kyiv would be enough.

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