Valentin Yakushik is a political scientist and professor at the chair of International Relations at the National University of Environmental Sciences of Ukraine.
DW: Ukraine is in the middle of this war of declarations, how much is this pre-war scenario costing Kiev?
Valentin Yakushik: Now a campaign of fear-mongering about Russia’s alleged imminent military offensive against Ukraine is unfolding. This kind of media activity is a very dangerous psychological weapon, mainly to make the people of Ukraine suffer. Stress is increasing and health in many people is deteriorating. Friends call me on the phone and ask me if there is going to be a war and if they have to flee. I assure you that there will be no war, that such a war would be a geopolitical death trap for Russia and Moscow will not fall into this trap.
During the last month investments leave Ukraine, the value of assets of Ukrainian companies is falling. Maxim Golder, leader of the Union of Left Forces party, calculated that Ukraine has lost 6.5 billion dollars. And the leader of the populist Motherland party, Julia Tymoschenko, said that it would be necessary to require Western partners to cancel Ukraine’s 52 billion dollar debt. The situation is serious for Ukrainian society.
Zelensky has repeated again that he wants to see Ukraine in NATO. Is it a plausible scenario, even though it is Russia’s red line, or do we have to understand these statements in terms of internal politics?
Talking about Ukraine joining NATO is an important part of Ukrainian domestic politics. The previous president, Petro Poroschenko, even managed to include in the text of the Constitution a provision on the goal of joining NATO. But this does not change anything, not so much because Russia is against it, but because most NATO countries do not need it at all.
Also, shortly after the end of the conflict with the Lugansk separatist movement on the basis of the Misnk agreements, feelings about Ukraine’s neutrality will rise again among the population. In the country there are many topics of political debate that are not related to realistic politics. Joining NATO is one of many such issues.
How much does non-compliance with the Minsk Agreements have to do with the current situation? Because Russia claims that none of this would be happening if Ukraine and NATO had “fulfilled their part” of those agreements.
It seems to me that this year, after several cycles, after several rounds of aggravation of the international situation around Ukraine, there will be an opportunity for the United States and the Russian Federation to reach a strategic compromise and create conditions for the actual implementation of the Minsk Agreements. After that, the eastern part of the Ukrainian Donbas, Donetsk and Lugansk, will be reunited with Ukraine under the terms of a very broad autonomy status, similar to the status of Macau or Hong Kong in China. And the American president, Joe Biden, and the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky, will be able to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for a good reason.
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Ukrainian political scientist assures that “there will be no war” | D.W. | 02.19.2022