Policy towards occupied territories: how to prevent new «grey zones» evolving

Policy towards occupied territories: how to prevent new «grey zones» evolving

Nataliya Ishchenko, Ukrainian journalist and political scientist at Lviv Security Forum 2018:

With regards to the experience in the post-Soviet area, Moldova and Georgia, one must learn from the mistakes of others. These are the two different examples of how things should not be done.

For example, in Moldova, there is a creeping reintegration of this enclave. What relates to Georgia the program of peaceful reintegration of territories is being implemented there with the support of the international community. This program, which has been implemented over the past few years, has provoked even greater rejection of the occupied territories.

As soon as Georgia adopted the relevant laws, decisions and began to implement a program of approximation of these territories, Russia has taken very hard steps of cutting off these territories from Georgia. Even visually it is clear. They began to build borders. On the borders of Abkhazia and Ossetia, there are no border guards. There are FSB troops, which are also Russian border guards. Their presence there is official. They did this when Georgia was allegedly trying to reintegrate peacefully. They received a reverse effect.

In Ukraine, civil society and politicians simply did not let it happen. That’s why it did not happen. But now Russian propagandists began to write: “Why do not Ukrainians behave like Georgians?”

If we resigned in 2014 after Ilovajsk or in 2015, after Debaltsevo, this plan would be implemented. But for some reason, we began to resist, and this did not happen. And, I think, now the chances of realization of this scenario are lower than in 2014-2015 years”.

Rosian Vasiloi, security analyst, Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (Moldova) at Lviv Security Forum 2018:

During 27 years of Russian aggression in Transnistria Moldova has not recognized this fact. Only in 2017 Constitutional court recognized Russian troops in Transnistria. However, the government did not adopt any acts as a reaction to this decision.

We have to recognize that Russian aggression has two components in Moldova – external and internal. The internal component consists of our domestic actors supporting the separatist regime in Transnistria.

In 2017 a number of NGOs in Moldova presented an analysis about occupation troops in Moldova with direct reference to international law and decisions of UN Court of Justice. However, our national authorities still do not recognize occupation.

Moreover, our government implements the so-called “strategy of small steps”, provides for re-integration people instead of re-integration of the territory. The strategy of small steps is just providing occupied territories with sovereignty which is a great trap for Moldova. Our Moldovan experience of occupied territories makes me say it out loud to my Ukrainian friends: “Do not repeat our mistakes!”

Roman Bezsmertny, politician, public figure at Lviv Security Forum 2018:

There is nothing stronger than action. Speaking about European perspectives, how many commitments have we taken on ourselves? And how many have embodied? So “the action”, gentlemen. ”The Action” at the Minsk negotiations, “the action” at the front, “the action” in the rear.

In the current situation, things are very well manifested, which can become the basis for “the action”. This applies not only to the Donbas, but to almost all the points of tension that we are talking about today.

If I were asked what I would do, then I would do two things these days – I would suggest Kurt Volker head the Ukrainian delegation in Minsk and do everything possible to make the owner of the Ukrainian GTS either “Halliburton” or somebody else.