Updated at 10:32,27-07-2021

Crimean conflict: possible outshot

Ales Piletski, Euroradio

It is impossible to predict the development of the Russia-Ukraine relations now, experts say.

“The imperial atmosphere has established in Russia. It is also poisoned by gas. That is why Russia is trying to expand the spheres of its influence everywhere,” expert Raman Yakayleuski commented on Russia’s intention to annex Crimea.

The events developed rapidly. The Crimean Supreme council voted for joining Russia on March 6. Crimean MPs idea would be considered within three or five days, Russian Duma member Sergei Mironov claimed a few hours later. Meanwhile, Crimea is going to organize a referendum and ask people if they want to join Russia or bring back the Constitution of 1992 and expand the autonomy’s rights. The referendum will be held on March 16.

The Russian Constitution does not allow annexing Crimea without Ukraine’s consent. However, farsighted Russian MPs have already suggested changes to the Constitution.

The Ukraine-EU association agreement may be signed within the next few days (the agreement was the cause of the unrest in Ukraine) German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed in Brussels on the evening of March 6. However, the agreement will not stop the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, expert of the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies Andrei Yeliseyeu thinks. The Kremlin probably began the confrontation due to the association agreement.

Russia probably wants to use Crimea as a hostage. Kiev will face this dilemma: keeping Crimea or cooperating with the West.

Kiev is trying to prevent the loss of Crimea by all means now. The Ukrainian CEC has even blocked the data base of Crimean electors to prevent the referendum. Hardly anyone believes in the transparency and independence of the referendum. The Ukrainian legislation does not allow such local plebiscites either. No matter what Crimeans vote for (41% of Crimeans would like to join the Russian Federation, sociologists say), Kiev will never recognize the referendum result. The rest of the world and the UN will not recognize it either.

But the reality is different. Unknown soldiers in uniform and with Russian weapons are controlling the peninsula now. Even NATO cannot help Ukraine keep Crimea, Andrei Yeliseyeu said. The Alliance will not allow Kiev to join while occupation forces are controlling part of the country. The threat of Ukraine-Russia war is very high.

The statute of NATO clearly states: if an Alliance member is suffering from aggression, the other members must react accordingly. If Ukraine joins NATO, it will automatically mean that the West will have to wage war on Russia. It will be an armed conflict. And it will be very serious.

The outshot may be different: the Ukrainian Army may leave Crimea and it will be annexed by Russia, Russians may leave the peninsula and Ukraine will keep it or Ukrainian and Russian troops may stay in Crimea and it will become something like Transnistria.

A war may also start and lead to a world war. This is the most fantastic outshot now. However, the situation is developing rapidly and is absolutely unpredictable, the most experienced experts admit.