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Ukraine and its neighbors: war, scandals, and misunderstanding

Author : Viktor Ruzhynsky

Source : 112 Ukraine

What is the situation on Ukraine's borders? War with Russia, scandal with Belarus, serious cooling of relations with Poland, series of scandals of historical memory, a potential cooling of relations with Moldova
21:03, 2 November 2016

Read the original text at 112.ua.

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"Maybe victory of the pro-Kremlin communist in Moldova's presidential election would force Ukraine to think about whether it has foreign policy and that do we want from that foreign policy?" Wrote the Ukrainian diplomat Bogdan Yaremenko. He notes the absence of any long-term policy concerning Moldova. It should be noted that the absence of sound policies is observed not only in respect of Moldova.

Thus, the most recent - review of Ambassador of Ukraine in Moldova and the scandal with the return of the plane "Belavia" in Kyiv under threat of military aviation. Relations with the official Minsk and Chisinau is clearly not benefited.

Kyiv does not like Dodon

October 31, the Administration of the President of Ukraine said: "Ambassador of Ukraine in Moldova was summoned to Kyiv for consultations." Without any explanation. From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs there was also no reaction. Obviously, the advice will be connected with the elections in Moldova, where in the first round was the first chairman of the pro-Russian Party of Socialists, Igor Dodon. On the eve of the election, he said, that the territory occupied by Crimea belongs to Russia.

Related: Crimea as Unter-Russia

Dodon said that he would not initiate the procedure of recognition of Crimea as part of Russia. "We need to have good relations with our neighbors, so the question should be very carefully considered," he explained. At the same time, he added that an official recognition of Crimea as part of Russia could pose a threat to the country. "If we recognize Crimea, it might cause someone’s recognition of Transnistria," he concluded.

At the same time, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Moldova Ivan Gnatyshyn commented on the statement of Dodon: "Baffling is the position of some Moldovan politicians to recognize the legitimate annexation of Crimea by Russia in the situation of existence in Moldova territory not controlled by the central government, claiming the recognition of statehood with the prospect of joining to the Russian Federation," said Gnatyshyn. And now the ambassador was recalled for consultations in Kyiv.

"Translated from the diplomatic jargon – we showed Moldova that we do not really like it. In this case, the output from the first place in the second round of presidential elections, the Moldovan Socialist Party leader Igor Dodon, whose campaign rhetoric concerning Russia and Crimea is inconsistent with the friendly and neighborly relations, diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Moldova as a whole," says Bohdan Yaremenko.

However, such a step of Kyiv is actually interference in the electoral race in the neighboring country and to the internal policy of Moldova as a whole. In today's world it can afford a strong state, regional centers. But as for me, this is not the most correct and rational step of Kyiv in a situation where more than obvious victory of Dodon in the second round. After all, if Kyiv wants to dominate in the buffer area between the EU and Russia, then, anyway, we have to work together with Moldova after the elections. And what will be the mood of Chisinau in relation to Kyiv, if Dodon wins? Kyiv in danger of spoiling relations with Chisinau and thus not achieve favorable outcome of the election race in Moldova.

Related: Russia bans salt supply from Ukraine

In fact, Ukraine has entered a geopolitical battle between the EU and Russia on the side of the West. It would be more justified if the results of the first round were not so fortunate for the pro-Russian candidate. Now at stake is a lot, and it seems that Kiev is guided by the rule that "a frank enemy in politics is better than insincere one."

Were there any threats of fighters against the civilian aircraft?

Related: Russia sent nuclear missiles to border with Lithuania and Poland territory

Even more paradoxical situation with the Belarusian aircraft. October 21 the airline "Belavia" said its aircraft, flying from Kyiv to Minsk threatened to raise the combat aircraft in the air is returned to the "Zhulyany" airport. The SBU reported that Boeing was returned in "Zhulyany" to ensure that there is no national security threat. The aircraft was returned due to the well-known blogger and anti-Maidan activist Armen Martirosyan, who was on board. In Kyiv, he was searched and soon released. To Minsk he flew another flight. The information that the pilot threatened to raise the fighters, was denied by SBU. "Is it possible to take seriously the information that the fighters can be picked up in the sky against a civilian airliner?" Wrote on Facebook's press secretary of SBU Olena Gitlyanska.

But then the Belarusian Foreign Ministry interrupted into the scandal, which handed a protest note to the interim charge d'affaires of Ukraine in Belarus Valery Dzhygun and said that a record of conversations between pilots and air traffic controllers, which sounded really a threat to lift into the air combat aircraft.

Related: Putin wants to consolidate "Russian nation" via legislation

However, after that no official announcement or apology from the official Kyiv has not followed. Today, the presidential newspaper "Belarus Today" strongly described the situation after the talks and published transcript of controller and pilot. "... It is particularly sad to see how obscenely behave our brothers, partners, some of our Ukrainian friends. We are forced to return to the events of October 21... Forced, because in spite of all conceivable rules, Ukrainian officials unmotivated, threatened to use force of one hundred and forty subjected to risk lives of passengers and crew, forcing the plane to land with almost full tanks of kerosene," says the Belarusian government publication.

So offended Minsk went on the attack. But the silence of Kyiv surprises the most. Our Foreign Ministry is silent again. "We got a note and we will work together with the competent authorities," reported in the department. From any other comments in the press service of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry refused. Now Kyiv has in absolutely uncomfortable position after the publication of the decryption of dialogue between the pilot and controller. Earlier scandal could be settled through diplomatic channels or even presidential, it is now made public.

Related: Poland Deputy PM: Doubling of minimum salary in Ukraine is unpleasant surprise

And in this situation has the advantage Minsk. President Lukashenko, who all his policy built on the confrontation of the West and Russia, has positioned itself as a peacemaker in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, has a strong weight in the region. Ignoring Minsk is not the best solution for Kyiv. Although we should not forget about the Ukrainian intelligence applications, which claims that the Russian aviation supposedly rehearsed in the Belarusian airspace application of air strikes on targets in Ukraine. And the public silence of Kyiv may be a reaction to a double play of Lukashenko.

Rapid is deteriorating and the Polish-Ukrainian relations. A certain chill Ukrainian experts predicted immediately after coming to power in Poland the conservatives from the PiS. But it has gone too far. Europe criticizes the Polish authorities for a very specific understanding of democracy. Just over a year the party managed to limit the number of freedoms to express negative attitudes towards LGBT people and speak for the abortion ban, artificial insemination and euthanasia in Poland. Also, the Polish deputies recognized Volyn tragedy as genocide of the Poles, allegedly organized by the Ukrainian nationalists in the early 40-ies twentieth century. It caused a scandal in the bilateral relations of Kyiv and Warsaw. Previous Polish authorities have a lawyer of Ukraine in the EU and our main ally in the foreign policy arena. Conservatives, though continue to talk about friendship with Kiev, but actually exacerbate relations headed by Jarosław Kaczyński and Andrzej Duda. The scandal with the genocide caused response in Ukraine expressed their regret Petro Poroshenko, and the Verkhovna Rada adopted a response statement, which urged not to speculate on a heavy page of history and to give it at the mercy of historians.

Related: Elections in Moldova: Pro-Russian candidate wins first round

Everything seemed to get better with the arrival of Duda in Kyiv to celebrate the Independence Day of Ukraine. However, the fall of the Foreign Ministry advised the Embassy of Poland to cancel the show in Kiev, the Polish movie "Volyn". It is represented by the Polish perspective on the tragedy. It is clear from the Ukrainian nationalists in the image of the killers. Embassy heed the advice (in fact - the request) and canceled the show.

Ambassador of Ukraine to Poland Andriy Deshchitsa says that nothing in the Polish-Ukrainian relations has changed. However, the facts tell a different story. First, the Poles made it difficult for Ukrainians cards Pole, then the rules have been tightened entry Ukrainians Poland, and in the late summer of Poland has tightened the rules for the employment of Ukrainians. In this case, the Polish authorities emphasize in Brussels that are affected by the influx of Ukrainian refugees.

Related: Putin: Russia may resume gas supplies to Ukraine any moment

Appointment of Slawomir Nowak, the former Minister of Infrastructure of Poland, the head of "Ukravtodor" in this scenario is also unlikely to benefit Ukraine. "Novak and his political patron Donald Tusk are the representatives of the political forces, which is in opposition to the current Polish government. In opposition to the dim prospects to obtain a political victory and return to power. So what gets Ukraine besides another reason for the irritation of existing Polish authorities? " Asks Yaremenko.

And all these problems only become worse, no matter what Ukrainian diplomats say.

Gas issue concerned the reverse of gas. At the end of June 2015, Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk sent a letter to the leadership of the European Union, in which he said about the illegality of the current contract between "Gazprom" and the Slovak gas monopoly Eustream and demanded its revision with the aim of opening a virtual reversal of gas between Ukraine and Slovakia. Then Bratislava immediately responded that it would not meet the claims of Kyiv, and in informal conversations started talking about the blackmail by the Ukrainian partners.

Related: Russia systematically aims to destabilize political order in Europe, - Macierewicz

The second incident that caused the misunderstanding Slovaks concerned failure by Ukraine on energy efficiency in the Visegrad Four meeting format to which the Slovak side has prepared project ideas for Ukraine. At the same time in Bratislava, they claimed that Ukrainians have resorted to blackmail, demanding to put on the agenda the issue of virtual reverse, and when this did not happen, a week before the meeting it was canceled.

A personal affront to Slovak diplomats, according to some media reports, was the abolition of the visit of President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko at the jubilee conference GLOBSEC in Bratislava, which is extremely important for the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Poroshenko should like to speak on the panel dedicated to the Ukraine, together with three colleagues from other countries. However, there was no president, nor any of its representatives.

All of this should be seen in the heap with the ambiguous perception of Ukraine in the Slovak society and political circles, says Comenius University in Bratislava, lecturer Marina Vorotnyuk. "Slovak nationalism, in contrast to the Ukrainian or Polish, was traditionally pro-Russian. In particular, according to Eurostat, Slovakia is the fourth EU member state on the number of students who chose the Russian language as a second foreign language (after Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia), 20 and 5% in 2013. to a large extent, this is the reason for the historically "cool" attitude of the Slovaks to the Ukraine, as well as the perception of the events in it through the prism of Russia," she writes.

Related: 35000 militants and 6000 Russia's officers in Donbas reported

Slovak authorities themselves as pragmatists, for which there is no contradiction between values and Realpolitik. Because Slovakia supported and sanctions, and opened the gas for Ukraine reverse. However, Ukrainian experts are in agreement that with respect to Slovakia Ukraine is weak diplomatic work.

Very cool attitude of the official Kiev to Hungary and Georgia. In these countries, policies are in power with the pro-Russian bias. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban notorious undemocratic ruler, conflicting with Brussels. A right-wing political forces, such as "Jobbik" call back in Transcarpathia of Hungary. All this is a matter of concern in Ukraine.

During the visit of Poroshenko in Bucharest in April this year, the head of Ukraine stated his readiness to join the initiative on the creation of the Black Sea fleet under the auspices of NATO, when it will be adopted by the Alliance. The purpose of this fleet is strengthening the presence of the Alliance and the strengthening of security in the Black Sea. This idea was created by Romania, and Ukraine strongly endorsed it. Military cooperation with Romania opens such prospects, which gained Ukraine, developing a dialogue with Poland and Lithuania.

Related: NATO is preparing for Russian military aggression

So what we have today on its borders? The war with Russia, the scandal with Belarus, a serious cooling of relations with Poland and the series of scandals of historical memory, a potential cooling of relations with Moldova in case of victory of Dodon in the presidential election. At least four countries do not have friendly relations with us.

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