Rebels want to efface Ukraine
The leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic declares a state called Malorossiya
22 July, 2017
Separatists in Eastern Ukraine proclaimed last week a plan to create a new state in place of present Ukraine, but most observers regarded the declaration as frivolous.
The leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic ("DPR") Alexander Zakharchenko announced on 18 July that “representatives of regions of former Ukraine, with the exception of Crimea, have agreed that the new state shall be called Malorossiya, as the very name of Ukraine has discredited itself.” According to the statement, the city of Donetsk should become the capital of Malorossiya and the city of Kiev should "remain a historical and cultural centre."
The name Malorossiya was of widespread use under the Russian Empire in the 19th century to describe the land that now makes up Ukraine, news wires recall.
Malorossiya will be "a federal state with broad powers of autonomy of the regions," in which regional languages are guaranteed to be retained, Zakharchenko said. He also mentioned the need to introduce a three-year state of emergency in the country. "Seeking to avoid chaos, we suggest imposing a state of emergency for three years, in which the activity of any parties would be banned; the same period will witness the beginning of probes with the involvement of the international public into the crimes committed in Odesa, on the Maidan and in Donbas”.
Alexander Timofeyev, the so-called "DPR" deputy prime minister, claimed that the initiative to establish the state of Malorossiya does not run counter to the Minsk peace agreements, but insisted that Ukraine will disappear. "It will be war for those who do not heed our peaceful overtures,” he said.
The Kremlin has not reacted to the rebel proclamation, but Russia's envoy to the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine, Boris Gryzlov, said it did not correspond to the Minsk process."I perceive this only as an invitation to a discussion. This statement has no constitutional consequences," Gryzlov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency. The Minsk agreements brokered by Russia, France and Germany in September 2014 and signed in February 2015 envisage a cease-fire between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian separatists, a withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the contact line, a prisoner exchange and local elections in Donbas.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during his visit in Georgia last week said Ukraine was "hopeful for the reintegration of Donbas and Crimea, with the restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty over those territories." Poroshenko called separatist leader Zakharchenko "no political figure" but rather a Russian "puppet".
Spokespersons from the French and German cabinets made similar declarations, saying that separatists in Eastern Ukraine have no legitimate right to create a state. The position of the EU has always been that the Minsk agreements have to be implemented and followed.