Ukraine needs its own Josip Broz Tito

Author : Sergio Romano

Source : Corriere Della Sera

Ukraine should not give up its independence. But it does not need presidents who depend on Russia, like Yanukovych, or on NATO countries, like yesterday’s Yushchenko or today's Poroshenko
22:47, 3 December 2018

112 Agency

Have we really forgotten - even before the last incident in the Sea of Azov - that Ukraine is still at war? Of course no. We knew that the military units of the two camps in Donbas did not stop provoking each other. And we could not be unaware that the construction of a large bridge across the Kerch Strait, triumphantly named the Crimean Bridge in May of this year, will cause concern and annoyance among Ukrainians. But there are no topics which, despite their seriousness, do not become boring over time and are not crowded out by other news. Over the past few months, we had to face the Libyan and Syrian crises, the verbal confrontation between Istanbul and Riyadh after the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, Europe’s attempt to save the nuclear agreement with Iran and the relations of their companies with this Islamic republic. Not to mention Donald Trump's inevitable daily tweets on the topic of the day and, of course, the final (?) Brexit agreement. In this kaleidoscope, the messages from the hot spots of Ukraine seemed to us more or less similar to those that we saw last week, and, therefore, of little interest.

I wonder if some parties, interested in the Ukrainian crisis and alarmed by the cover of silence that fell on it, did not draw such conclusions. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will appeal to his country in March next year with a request to elect him for a second presidential term, but so far the poll results are not in his favor. The martial law, declared immediately after the incident if approved by the Kyiv government and justified by the UN, could allow the president to postpone the election or convince voters that consistency is a significant value for these moments. The incident occurred a few weeks before the summit of the European Union, where a decision should be made whether to extend the sanctions imposed on Russia. We knew that some countries, perhaps including Italy, would probably have some doubts. But in what atmosphere will the summit take place after what happened on November 25?

Related: Sanctions against Italy or how EU fights with Eurosceptics

And what about Putin? Did he really know how the West would react to what happened? Did he know that his “friend Trump,” concerned about the prospect of impeachment after the success of the Democrats in the elections, as a result of which the Congress was partially renewed, could not help him in such circumstances? Did he know that the use of firearms would seem to be an attempt to annex the entire Sea of Azov? I believe that the Russian president has other concerns more important to him. Since the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008, when US President George W. Bush proposed to include Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, Putin’s Russia lived in a state of alarm. It accepted the entry into NATO of the countries belonging to the Warsaw Agreement, as well as the Baltic republics, which Stalin annexed after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 23, 1939. However, I doubt that Russia would allow the transition of the two states, which for several centuries were an integral part of Tsarist and Soviet Russia to the West’s side. Western democracies are not inclined to share Putin’s geopolitical unrest. But if they look at the history of Ukraine of the last century, they will have to admit that this state existed under various flags before its unification: Austrian, Polish, German, Russian, Soviet. This does not mean that Ukraine should give up its independence. But it does not need presidents who depend on Russia, like Yanukovych, or on NATO countries, like yesterday’s Yushchenko or today's Poroshenko. It needs a leader such as Tito, who during the Cold War was able to make the non-interference of Yugoslavia useful and desirable for all the countries with which it was bound.

Read original article at Corriere Della Sera

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