The leaders of Ukrainian opposition Vitalii Klitschko and Arsenii Yatseniuk managed to achieve what the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych only dreams about – a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel in her office. Another question is to which extent this meeting can help solve the confrontation between the power and the opposition which has been underway in Ukraine since November 30.
A source close to the participants of the meeting told The Day that “German side (the chancellor and the ministry of foreign affairs) showed good knowledge of all aspects of the situation in Ukraine, including existing risks. It expressed its readiness for consistently help in finding ways of riding out the crisis and keeping to democratic principles, at the same time considering the possibility of using the whole arsenal of levers of influence.”
One of the participants, UDAR’s leader Vitalii Klitschko during the negotiations with Merkel insisted on implementing sanctions concerning the government of Ukraine. It is possible to make steps to compromise in Ukraine, if “one shows to Yanukovych and its entourage the prospect of measures connected with fighting the laundering of dirty money,” he told journalists after the negotiations with the chancellor.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Fatherland faction Arsenii Yatseniuk told about the readiness of the West to provide the new Ukrainian government with corresponding support.
The Day asked political scientist, member of German-Ukrainian Forum Alexander RAHR to comment on the results of the meeting of leaders of Ukrainian opposition and chancellor of Germany.
“Germany has a very responsible stand concerning Ukraine. German leadership welcomes the ceasefire and stability in Ukraine. Therefore Ms. Merkel, as far as I saw, behaved in a very natural way. She made everyone understand that she was very glad to meet with the leaders of the opposition Klitschko and Yatseniuk. She wanted to hear them out to understand how they view the development of the future of Ukraine, what they can offer, and what responsibility they can take for the destiny of the country. At the same time, she spoke against urgent sanctions against Yanukovych or any restrictions to stabilize the situation. So, Germans see the way out in a compromise, some agreements that should take place between the government and the opposition, so that they later jointly went to democratic and free elections, which will decide the future of the country in a democratic and absolutely legal way within the framework of Ukraine’s legal system. And free elections are already in the offing.
“As for the money, this is a separate question. I think Europe does not have the money Ukraine, including Yatseniuk, asks for to create a new opposition government. The IMF was created in its time to help in such situations. And it will lend money like it used to give money to Tymoshenko’s government only when the demands of the West are fulfilled. Something has been said about this, but German government could not give direct promises that Western money would flow to Ukraine instead of the Russian money.”
Klitschko stated in the Verkhovna Rada about the readiness of the opposition to form a new government. Does it mean that the opposition can win absolute support of Germany?
“Ukraine’s stability and avoiding the Yugoslavia events that happened 20 years ago is everyone’s interest. It does not necessarily mean that Germany will support concrete personalities. Of course, Klitschko and Yatseniuk should prove their ability to take the government. If they have an effective program and trust of people, and most of Ukrainians will indeed support this government, Germany will support them. Germans think it will be next to impossible to stabilize the situation without participation of other forces in the process of stabilization, the same Yanukovych, who remains an elected president till the new presidential elections, plus oligarchs who, as we know, have the crucial role in influencing the situation in Ukraine. Therefore the demand of the opposition – give us the government, we’ll eliminate Yanukovych, so that he did not have any power, we will break ties with Russia, and sign an association with the EU, and will live on Western money – is a beautiful idealistic notion, but it is very naive. As we know, the situation is much more complicated. There is no answer to many questions asked by eastern Ukraine, whose production is oriented at Russia and CIS countries. Therefore a big preparation work is needed to be led by Europeans and Russians, who should agree that Ukraine won’t have to choose between the West and Russia again. And these two sides and Ukraine should start a fruitful cooperation. This is not an idealistic notion, but quite a real one.”
Many experts don’t exclude that Ukrainian government can introduce martial law in Ukraine, at least in Kyiv. If it happens, what reaction can be expected from Berlin?
“In fact, there are many attempts in Ukraine both to provoke the situation, and to soothe it. If German government and German industry is able to help keep control of the situation so that the martial law is not introduced, rallies take place in a peaceful way, and the government does not use force against peaceful demonstrators, they will do so.”