Donetsk Separatist Leader: We Are Not Citizens of Ukraine

Interview with Alexander Zakharchenko – Published on Spiegel Online International, by Christian Neef, April 29, 2015
(Photo Gallery: An Urge to Expand).

Alexander Zakharchenko is the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, which is not recognized by the international community. In a rare interview, he says his greatest hope is that Moscow will annex his territory just as it did Crimea … //

… … SPIEGEL: Mr. Zakharchenko, you say that the Ukrainian leadership is in the process of unleashing a new war. In fact, there has been shooting again along the cease-fire line — at the Donetsk airport and near the port city of Mariupol. Has the Minsk agreement failed?

  • Zakharchenko: The airport and the embattled town of Shyrokyne, near Mariupol are symbolic places, both for us and the Ukrainian army. Kiev wants to recapture the airport as quickly as possible. It has not abided by any of the terms of the Minsk agreement. Above all, it was supposed to establish direct contact with us, which hasn’t happened to this day.

SPIEGEL: So Kiev alone is to blame for the fact that there is still no peace?

  • Zakharchenko: Ninety-percent of the demands in the Minsk agreement apply to Kiev. We have done everything conceivable. We have withdrawn military technology and we have handed over prisoners to the other side.

SPIEGEL: All prisoners?

  • Zakharchenko: What do you mean by all? We turned over the last 16 Ukrainians, but then the war continued, and each side is now taking new prisoners. And Kiev is not withdrawing its heavy weapons.

SPIEGEL: You haven’t done so, either. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has confirmed that your people fired missiles at the city of Avdiivka in recent days.

  • Zakharchenko: I can tell you why. If we withdraw our weapons and the other side fires at us, we have to respond. That’s logical, isn’t it? And that’s why the heavy weapons are returning to their old positions.

SPIEGEL: So the war is continuing … //

… SPIEGEL: Have you ever considered a federation with Ukraine a possibility?

  • Zakharchenko: I did a year ago. But that’s over now.

SPIEGEL: You now want Russia to recognize your republic. But that would “immensely complicate” a resolution of the conflict, says German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

  • Zakharchenko: Germany should recognize us even sooner. It would make like easier for the people here.

SPIEGEL: Conditions have been poor in your republic since the economic blockade began. What are you doing to combat the problem?

  • Zakharchenko: We have started paying out pensions, we are slowly getting coal production up and running again and the railroad will be operating again soon. Be it coal or metal, we will return to 2014 production levels.

SPIEGEL: Is the money for the pensions coming from Russia? Is that why they are being paid in rubles?

  • Zakharchenko: We supply coal to Russia, and we are paid in rubles. But do you think Ukraine could survive without our coal? It is buying through all kinds of circuitous routes. The EU is also interested, including Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and especially Spain. That means we get rubles, hryvnia and dollars.

SPIEGEL: Who do you think should pay for the reconstruction of the Donbas?

  • Zakharchenko: Ukraine, of course. It destroyed everything here.

SPIEGEL: Ukraine is practically bankrupt … //

… (full interview text).


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Why Syriza Failed, on naked capitalism, by Yves Smith, April 29, 2015;

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Did a Chinese-Russian-Iranian coalition opposing NATO debut in Moscow? on Global (first on RT Op-Edge ), by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, April 25, 2015: The Moscow Conference on International Security in April was used as a venue to give notice to the US and NATO that other world powers will not let them do as they please;

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