One of the richest and most influential Ukrainians, oligarch Victor Pinchuk, published an article in the Wall Street Journal in which he suggested that Ukrainians have to “make painful compromises for peace with Russia” .
What are these “painful” compromises?
Pinchuk acknowledges that Ukraine should be able to choose its future, and Russia has to fulfill its obligations under the Minsk agreements ensuring the ceasefire and the withdrawal of its troops from the Donbas.
“But this can be part of a larger picture in which we make painful compromises for peace. Consider the following ideas.” The businessmen suggests that Ukraine must give up the Crimea, integrate with Europe, conduct local elections in the territories held by the separatists, and to make peace with Russia.
According to Pinchuk, "Ukraine should consider temporarily eliminating European Union membership from our stated goals for the near future. We can build a European country, be a privileged partner, and later discuss joining.... While we maintain our position that the Crimea is part of Ukraine and must be returned, the Crimea must not get in the way of a deal that ends the war in the east on an equitable basis.... Conflict in the east was initiated from abroad and is not a genuine autonomy movement or civil war. There will not be conditions for fair elections until Ukraine has full control over its territory. But we may have to overlook this truth and accept local elections... Finally, let’s accept that Ukraine will not join NATO in the near- or midterm. The offer is not on the table, and if it were, it could lead to an international crisis of unprecedented scope. For now, we should pursue an alternative security arrangement and accept neutrality as our near-term vision for the future.”
Response of the Ukrainian President
The Ukrainian President’s Administration was highly critical of Pinchuk's article. Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Konstantin Yeliseyev stated that he can appreciate the aspiration of Pinchuk to achieve peace in Ukraine.
“But I cannot agree to the calls for compromises that are based on fears. Fear and weakness are bad advisors. They will only stir the appetite of Russia bringing more aggression and more human suffering,” Yeliseyev believes.
The Ukrainian President’s Administration further reiterated the position of Ukraine. “Ukraine is not turning away from its course towards European and Transatlantic integration. This would mean abandoning Ukrainian independence, sovereignty and integrity."
"Ukrainian territories are not for trade whether it’s the Donbas or the Crimea. These territories cannot be a part of any compromise. There can be no elections on the occupied territories while Russian boots are present on the Ukrainian territory. Ukraine supports local elections but only on the basis of the Ukrainian law and OSCE standards’'.
The Ukrainian LB.ua news website reported that the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, will not take part in the traditional lunch in Davos (Switzerland) organized the the Victor Pinchuk Foundation. The lunch will take place on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum (17-20 January).
“The President will have his own agenda in Davos, but he will not go to visit Pinchuk, for sure, after his article [in WSJ],” an informed source told LB.ua.
Reponse of Ukrainian diplomats and politicians
The Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, Valeriy Chaly, criticized the oligarch Victor Pinchuk for his position in the article.
The diplomat wrote on his Facebook page that big businesses should focus on supporting Ukraine, rather than "helping the enemy." He added that he would like to hear the opinions of Ukrainian soldiers who are at the front line, or at least from those who have been there, in the US media.
Hanna Hopko, the head of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, believes that Pinchuk’s article is a good reason to start criminal proceedings against the oligarch.
The permanent representative of Ukraine to the Council of Europe, Dmytro Kuleba, stated that Pinchuk’s articles was “specially written for the US president-elect Trump's team”.
An independent MP of the Ukrainian Parliament and the millionaire, Serhiy Taruta, also believes that Pinchuck’s position could be beneficial for the administration of president-elect Trump. But, according to him, the Ukrainian President’s Administration should go beyond just criticizing Pinchuk’s position but develop their own strategy for return of the occupied territories of the Donbas.
Ukrainian MP Anton Gerashchenko believes that Pinchuk’s position has to do with his business in Russia which has been slowing down after the beginning of Russia’s aggression on Ukraine.
The deputy speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, Oksana Syroyid, stated that there could be no compromises over the territorial integrity of Ukraine.