Putin is Unlikely to Ever Recognize Donbass as Russian Territory, Says Political Scientist

Putin is Unlikely to Ever Recognize Donbass as Russian Territory, Says Political Scientist

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According to the Israeli political expert Yakov Kedmi, the merger of Donbass with Russia would mean abandoning the rest of the Russian-speaking people in Ukraine. “It would mean that Russia has given up on the whole Ukraine and on all of its Russian-speaking residents,” said Kedmi. “Russia will never do it.”

Since recently, the issue of settling the conflict in Donbas has entered a completely new phase. For example, Russia said that the so called “Normandy format” has become obsolete and is of no effect in negotiations with Berlin and Paris. Additionally, there have been also some reshuffles in the tripartite contact group operating in the Minsk format of peace settlement consultations. And the fact that from now on, Kiev is represented in the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine by Leonid Kravchuk, the first president of Ukraine who is more loyal to Moscow, gives hope to many people that there is some progress in the negotiations, which have long been deadlocked.

At the same time, the voice of diehard supporters of the accession of new territories becomes louder. They are demanding that the Kremlin choose a strategy for Donbass, similar to the one that was applied in the Crimea back in 2014. It is difficult to say whether there are any historical and logical grounds for the requests of this kind, but it can be said that supporters of the accession of Donbass have fewer and fewer trump cards. This factor remains prevalent even though previously the self-proclaimed unrecognized Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics have repeatedly declared their goal to join Russia.

For example, Yakov Kedmi, a well-known Israeli political scientist and former head of Nativ security service, believes, nothing of the kind can be expected. According to him, “Putin will never recognize Donbass as a Russian territory.”

Moreover, according to Yakov Kedmi, Moscow’s reluctance to recognize Donbass as a part of Russia is more of a problem for Kiev than for Donetsk or Lugansk.

“Putin believes that Donbass should remain part of Ukraine,” says Kedmi. “Part of a normal Ukraine. That is, the kind of a country it was back in the days when Donbass became part of it. And this concerns not only Donbass but all of New Russia (Novorossia).”

According to Yakov Kedmi, a merger of Donbass with Russia would mean abandoning the rest of the Russian-speaking people in Ukraine. “It would mean that Russia has given up on the whole Ukraine and on all of its Russian-speaking residents,” said Kedmi. “Russia will never do it.”

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