There are more tanks than cars

Now more than 40 large industrial enterprises of the oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, including mine, “occupied” the so-called separatists in the East of Ukraine. The rest of the country is experiencing great difficulties: lack of coal and energy. A former correspondent of the newspaper Mladá fronta in Russia Milan Sirucek in an interview Parlamentní Listy describes the latest events in Kiev, which actually cut off the separatist territories. Sirucek also tells about the escalation of tension in the Kaliningrad and in the entire Kaliningrad region, which is adjacent to the European Union and in which, according to him, the Russian tanks more than cars…

Parlamentní Listy: How do you assess the current relations between the United States and Ukraine?

Milan Sirucek: Donald trump still has not worked the first hundred days and has not had time to translate the promises of his campaign speeches into concrete steps. In several statements, he distanced himself from Europe, but during the visit of the German Chancellor backed down, however, noting that Europe needs to inject more funds into the budget of NATO. The same he repeated, speaking about relations with the European Union, while the other of the first meetings. So while it’s hard to say what will be us policy towards Ukraine in practice.

However, one specific step trump did: on March 22, he appointed the former Minister of Finance of Ukraine Natalia Yaresko Director for financial management and control in Puerto Rico. Jaresko headed the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine in 2014-2016 and is famous for having literally saved Ukraine from bankruptcy and stabilize the hryvnia. “The regime of austerity, debt restructuring, structural reforms — so we stopped the economy on the brink and returned to financial stability” — so she Jaresko described their achievements. The same is in store for Puerto Rico in the archipelago, which is sovereign U.S. territory. Already held several referendums on whether the state be one of the States or not, and the next will be held in June. Local use that are not required to pay Federal taxes, but on the other hand, they have no right to elect their representatives in Congress or the US President and Vice President, although the people of Puerto Rico American citizens. The biggest problem with this “nedostate”, which is controlled by the Governor, that the budget deficit there exceeded $ 70 billion, that is, in terms of each of the 3.4 million people out of nearly 12 thousand dollars. Thus, the situation is similar to Ukrainian, and Donald trump believes that the exit will help to find just the successful Ukrainian. Apparently, money does not know geographical, climatic, national and other differences.

— Lately, near Mariupol has been heavy fighting. It seems that the Minsk agreements are observed only sometimes…

— It seems that no one, including the parties to the Minsk agreements, worried that the agreements have not been implemented almost from the moment that was signed. To clarify: they only helped significantly to moderate the intensity of the fighting that took place in the East and South-East of Ukraine, but completely did not stop them. Now even the Ukrainian news daily reports of clashes and casualties are not the main and turn essentially in the secondary information such as road accident and crime reports.

But there is one exception — the murder of the former Deputy of the state Duma Communist Denis Boronenkov, who together with his family emigrated to Ukraine in December 2016, has received Ukrainian citizenship. In the centre of Kiev in front of an exclusive hotel Premier Palace Voronenkov was shot and killed 28-year-old Ukrainian Parchovymi Paul, a native of Sebastopol, “agent of the Russian intelligence services” as his page in Facebook wrote MP and member of the Collegium of the Ministry of internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko. He believes that in February 2015 Parsow crossed the border with Belarus and then passed diversants training in Moscow. There he received the task to enter service in the Ukrainian armed forces as a soldier. Year Parsow served in the National guard, but never fought. In August 2016, he retired from the service, he engaged in business and waited for orders from Moscow. Finally the order came: kill Boronenkov. But former Ukrainian interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko, who in 2014, in turn, fled to Russia, said on his page “Contact”, “killer” Paul Parsow lived in Dnepropetrovsk, served in the National guard and participated in the fighting in the battalion “Donbass”. Zakharchenko added that in 2012, when he was still a Minister, the police announced Barsova wanted on suspicion of economic crimes.

As for fighting near Mariupol and Slavic, all natural: they represent another opportunity to enter the Crimea.

— The Kiev government wants to completely sever all ties with the East of the country, allegedly in response to the seizure of factories and mines in Eastern Ukraine, which are mostly owned by the oligarch Akhmetov. Do you have the latest information about it?

The problem of the economic embargo this Friday said Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, answering in the framework of the Interpellation of deputies on the question of “Self-help” Yegor Sobolev on how the government will ensure energy independence of the country. Groisman ironically remarked that he would not appeal to the Deputy Sobolev with the usual epithet “shanovni”, meaning “dear”, because members of his party contributed to the blockade that was going to give the Russian Federation to cut off Ukraine’s access to its resources. So in fact Russia did it with their hands.

To clarify the issue, I’ll step aside. The question of economic relations of Ukraine with the separatist regions is a difficult problem, which is essentially divided into two: trade and transportation of the goods purchased. Rather, it involved much more, for example: taxes, social security and health workers and so on, but I intentionally brought this question to the two mentioned above aspects, because they are dependent on others. Ukraine needs Donetsk and Lugansk production, and they need to sell what they produce. But first and foremost, Ukraine needs coal from these regions is hard to model the anthracite used on the majority of Ukrainian thermal power plants.

The situation around the embargo, however, it seems to me, develop is not clear. First have announced a blockade of the nationalist forces, led by the party “Samopomich” and Deputy Yegor Sobolev. And the March 15 security Council meeting, Poroshenko proposed to stop the transportation of goods across the border between Ukraine and the occupied territories. The Council decided that the ban will not only apply to humanitarian goods and personal vehicles. And last all this for as long as the leadership of the separatist republics will not return to the company, confiscated at the beginning of March in response to a spontaneous blockade, their owners. Captured was approximately 40 metals and mining companies, mostly owned by Rinat Akhmetov. First decided that until 31 March, these businesses must re-register and to pay taxes to the separatists. Then the terms were changed. Decided that all this must occur before March 1 (SIC — approx. transl.). Thus, by a natural blockade increased and official that on Friday, March 24, that is, nine days after the allegations, criticized the Prime Minister. According to him, it undermines the Ukrainian economy because it prevents in the first place, imports of Donetsk anthracite. Now on the border was a paradoxical situation: the government forces of the army and security forces trying to drive out of a hastily built fortifications of those who remain there to interfere with the transportation that soldiers and security personnel, on the contrary, trying to make it possible. There were even shooting — fortunately, only a warning in the air. But already, several people have been injured in fights.

In its response to a parliamentary Interpellation on Friday, the Prime Minister added that the government also approved measures to reduce energy dependence on this coal. “We are modernizing thermal energy and transfer station for coal G grade, improving the performance of nuclear power plants and create mechanisms for reducing consumption. You forced us to reduce GDP, this means that the economy will lose hundreds of billions of hryvnia. The aim of the government to compensate for these economic losses and focus on economic growth”.

— They say that when two fight, the third laughs. What this dispute over the embargo to “help” Russia?

— He helps her directly and indirectly. As we have said, the conflict of Kiev with the Eastern part of Ukraine is escalating and this has a negative impact on the Ukrainian economy. In addition, Russia is at hand because now Donetsk coal sent to Russia, and it is logical.

But the conflict between Russia and Ukraine broke out in another, quite unexpected, the field of popular music. Song contest “Eurovision” has been performed since 1958. Each year it present themselves singers of the active member countries of the European broadcasting Union, although not all and not every time participate in the competition. The Czech Republic contributed a total of five times, but in the final there is only one Czech in the past year did Gabriel Kuncikova with the song I Stand, occupying the last place. This year our country will represent Martin Bart, member of the German jazz band 4 To The Bar. The competition will be held in Kiev, because it always spends the country, whose party won last year. In 2016 he won the Ukrainian Jamala, the representative of the Crimean Tatar minority, who sang about the persecution of her family under the Soviet regime.

This year Moscow, or rather the TV channel “Russia”, made an unexpected move: to participate in the Eurovision song contest in Kiev chose Julia Samoylova. In Russia it is not very famous singer, although he performed at the Olympics in Sochi, but humanly it is very touching, because confined to a wheelchair. She was born healthy, but had complications after vaccination. She is now 27 years old. However, the Ukraine, first of all, the head of the SBU, that is, the security services of Ukraine Vasily Gritsak who is against her participation: Samoilov sang in the Crimea in 2015 after its annexation by Russia, and once said: “Those who are now entrenched in power in Kiev, I want to sell Ukraine to the European Union, but Ukraine needs only to create a hostile border with Russia.” Such words and deeds, according to Hrytsak, the reason for that is to not allow the singer to perform on the territory of Ukraine. Of course, Eurovision is not under, so there was quite a ticklish situation, which has not yet been resolved.

— How do you evaluate the cooperation between Turkey and Russia? Descendants of Ataturk, rather the successors of the Ottoman Empire, suspend contacts with NATO and is increasingly converging with the Russian Federation, which recently announced it would help train and arm the Kurds…

— It’s quite a difficult question. Turkey remains the subject of disagreement between Russia and the European Union. Involved the United States, because Turkey is a NATO member. In addition, it is a candidate for European Union membership, whose members, however, are set against the entry of Turkey as a country that is Muslim, 90% of whose territory lies in Asia, and which generally does not meet a number of basic requirements for EU membership. On the other hand, Turkey was a key country in the current immigration crisis.

However, Turkey played an important international role during the cold war. remember Kareski crisis: Sergei Khrushchev, son of the then General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Nikita Khrushchev, told me that his father was sent to Cuba the Soviet missiles, even though he knew that the Americans won’t stand for it, and that sooner or later missiles will have to be withdrawn. But the General Secretary wanted to “tickle America in its vulnerable underbelly” as he said. And, most importantly, he managed the important: in exchange for a promise to withdraw the missiles it has obtained the consent of Kennedy that the USA withdraw its missiles from Turkey and Italy. And this is for Nikita Khrushchev was more important than missiles in Cuba that could greatly harm the us strategic points, and because of the unpredictability Castro could become the trigger for an unwanted conflict.

Today, Turkey is also a kind of fuse, around which walk, not knowing how to approach to him suddenly, somebody set fire to, or to avoid spontaneous combustion.

— Do you think some changes in the visa-free regime between Ukraine and the European Union?

Not yet. First, Ukraine still has not fulfilled all that it should, and secondly, within the EU there are those who are against the visa-free regime, for example Netherlands. However the promises has not been canceled, and the deadline was postponed to June.

— If France win marine Le Pen, whether the attitude of France to Ukraine different from the current position of the socialists led by President Hollande?

— First of all, I hope marine Le Pen does not fall into the Elysee Palace after the second round, although she has a great chance to get into it. Secondly, despite the fact that France, being the second most powerful nation in the EU takes part in the Minsk agreements, the actual problem of relations with Ukraine is not the subject of the election campaign and is not particularly interested in the French public. As for marine Le Pen, known for her sympathy to Putin. How else, after all she received from the Paris branch of a Russian Bank three million euros on the campaign. No other Bank does not want to give Le Pen a loan. Although, maybe she got not even a loan and will pay his own way.

Now in the Kaliningrad region is concentrated the maximum number of weapons over the last years, if not decades…

— This Russian enclave on the Polish territory was probably the most militant part of the European land. Military supplies region has become more intense in 2015, and to continue to throw all the new anti-ship missile systems, missile defense systems s-400 and the media “Iskander” capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It’s amazing what’s out there. Maybe missiles stacked in there like cars in a multi-level Parking. All this is a natural reaction to the deployment of NATO forces, primarily American, in Poland and the Baltic States. Of course, Russia is strengthening not only the Kaliningrad oblast, but their entire border area, in particular the Rostov region, where already, probably, also more tanks than cars.

These games are military rather sad than funny, and cause a sad irony, because it provoked an unprecedented political tensions. In addition, extremely increases the risk of accidental conflict, some kind of technical or mental mistakes, which should never be ruled out, especially when it comes to the most modern and terrible weapons (not even necessarily nuclear).

Therefore, all tensely expect, how will the first meeting between Donald trump and Vladimir Putin, and whether the intelligence to win the arrogance and ambitions. Anyway, we enter a phase of greater intensity than that which prevailed during the cold war. Because now is not working reliable mechanisms of the time who were not allowed to cross a certain border, perhaps it’s the aggravation of military confrontation on both sides of the descending iron curtain is now even more important than the immigration crisis, while most of us do not even realize it. I am not frightened, but merely comment on what is happening in reality.