The article by Mr Carl Bildt ‘Ukraine has fended off Russia and the EU deserves credit’ (Irish Examiner, April 24) not only presents events in Ukraine in a misleading way, but contains a great number of factual errors as well.
1. It is disturbing when the former prime minister of a European country tries to justify mass killing in the Donbass region as an act of “restoring order” by Kiev authorities. It is exactly the Poroshenko regime that started in 2014 and has been waging war with its own population that led to thousands of people killed by Ukrainian armed forces and nazi-type paramilitary groups of Ukrainian nationalists in the eastern part of Ukraine.
This dirty war has affected more than five million people with three-and-a-half million of whom by the UNCHR estimate are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, living under economic blockade imposed by Kiev and under daily artillery shelling by government forces. The Kiev government confronted their own people, who defended their identity, right to live their own life and speak their own language. The Russian Army, contrary to the assertion by Mr Bildt, has never been deployed there.
2. Russia has never opposed Ukrainian association with the European Union and never suggested that Kiev should abandon talks with Brussels to that effect. We have only proposed a sensible way to do it without detriment to the existing economic relations between Russia and Ukraine.
3. It is indeed surprising that the former Swedish prime minister does not know that Minsk agreements have been brokered within the “Normandy format” by presidents of Russia, France, Ukraine and German Chancellor with President Putin essentially taking a leading role in that. Unfortunately, since the signing of the Agreement, Ukraine authorities made every effort to avoid implementing it and continued military operation against Donbass.
4. It is hard to see where Mr Bildt has found “remarkable progress” made over the recent years by Ukraine. Results of recent presidential elections, in which the population has spoken very soundly against President Poroshenko’s record, are quite clear in that regard. What is also clear is that these elections — in the opinion of many Ukrainian and European observers (unlike Mr Bildt) — have been far from “the high European standards of fairness” with thousands of reported violations. And, on top of that, three million Ukrainian citizens living in Donetsk and Lugansk regions, plus many more working in Russia, have been devoid of a chance to vote. What could be more “fair” than that?
To sum up, the article shows a lack of understanding of the real problem of Ukraine in recent years, which was the instalment in Kiev in February 2014 of the corrupt, nationalist to the extreme, oligarchic regime with support of Washington and some of its European allies aiming to transform the once really independent and proud country into the instrument for “containing Russian aggression”.
HE Yuriy Filatov
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation in Ireland
This reader's opinion was originally published in the letters page of the Irish Examiner print edition on April 30, 2019