Many Ukrainians fear the new American administration, as it promises to change policy towards Russia, which invaded the Ukrainian territory forcibly annexed in 2014 the Crimean Peninsula and organized the so-called “separatist” movement to take control of part of Eastern Ukraine. In addition, we are concerned that against the background of prevailing in Europe’s dislike of the establishment to be held in different countries of the Continent, the elections to the authorities can come to the leaders willing to negotiate with the Kremlin.
These agreements should not be over the heads of more than 40 million Ukrainians. With the end of 2013 our citizens have consistently demonstrated that they are ready to fight if they try to take away the prospect of life in a free, democratic, tolerant and equitable country. Those who seek “realistic solutions”, it makes sense to take this into account.
However, the instinctive reaction of many Ukrainians to new circumstances — to require the same thing before, but more active and more persistent — may be ineffective. We should stop the annoying requests to adapt to the new realities and help our foreign friends to help us.
The appearance in Washington of the new administration may give Ukraine the opportunity to contribute to the solution of problems of the Russian intervention.
Yes, we must not abandon the fundamental principles of our struggle and we must continue to defend the right of Ukraine to choose its own path to protect its territorial integrity and to build a successful country. Moscow must fulfill its within the framework of the Minsk agreement of 2014 and 2015 commitments to end the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. It should ensure the establishment of a truce and withdraw its fighters and heavy weapons — which it has not yet done.
However, this, in turn, can become part of the bigger picture. We must be prepared to make painful compromises for peace. We have to consider the following ideas:
- Ukraine should think about the temporary refusal from membership in the European Union as of the stated goals for the near future. We can be a European country and a privileged partner of the EU and without it, and to join him to talk later.
- Although we continue to believe that Crimea belongs to Ukraine and should be returned to her, the issue of Crimea should not stand in the way of agreements, is able to stop the war in the East on fair terms. Ukraine will need 15 to 20 years to achieve a high economic growth rate and to stabilize the infrastructure, social support system and the financial system. In such a Ukraine, no doubt, will want to live all the population of the Crimea — just as East Germany wanted to become part of West Germany.
- The conflict in the East was initiated from abroad. This is not a civil war and the independence movement. Conditions for fair elections will not be there until Ukraine regains full control over its territory. However, we may have to close their eyes and make the results of local elections. Yes, make the trade-offs probably means to bring the suffering of Ukrainians from the East. However, if it is necessary to demonstrate the desire of Ukraine for a peaceful restoration of their unity, we should probably be ready for such solutions, as they can save thousands of lives.
We need to focus on helping those who had to leave their native city and who cannot return due to fear of repression and the dangers. We should offer them all possible support so they can re-build their lives in a new reality.
- Finally, let us recognize that in the short and medium term, Ukraine will not join NATO. Us no one offers, and even if I were offered such a proposal could lead to an international crisis of unprecedented proportions. At the moment we need to look for alternative ways to ensure their security and need to realize that we need to be ready to save in the near future neutrality.
Ukraine will need security guarantees. In the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China promised the security of Ukraine in exchange for relinquishing its nuclear Arsenal. We trusted the agreement, but when Russia invaded Crimea, we had the hard way to make sure that the promise is not guarantee.
Ukraine should prepare a detailed realistic proposals on all these points. We also need to understand that we are moving towards a free, United, peaceful and safe Ukraine, ready to accept the gradual collapse of the sanctions imposed against Russia.
Saved the lives of Ukrainians are those painful compromises that I propose. We need to demonstrate that Ukraine is able to solve their own problems and participate in solving global problems within the framework of the international coalition.
When Donald trump spoke out in 2015 via video link on my forum Yalta European strategy, he said that he deeply respects Ukraine and that, in his opinion, we do not get the support they deserve. I hope that his sympathy for Ukraine can become a basis for full negotiations and agreements, is able in the end to secure a peaceful solution.
Mr. Pinchuk is a Ukrainian industrialist and philanthropist.