The Ukrainian Independent Expert Group proposed an algorithm for solving the problem of territories not under the control of the Government of Ukraine through the accession of ORDLO to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. In particular, as part of a series of public discussions on the basis of the YouTube channel of the National Political Academy, the first topic was discussed: “Occupied territories and options for their return”.

The purpose of the discussions is to determine the scale of the problems associated with the Russian intervention, using facts, competent assessments and analysis. As well as providing a set of conclusions and recommendations that can form the basis for decisions to be taken at the highest political and official level. And in addition, they can be implemented in Ukrainian legislation.

The participants of the first discussion were:

Anna Malyar – Candidate of Law, criminologist.

Oleksandr Antonyuk is a political consultant and communications expert.

Oleksandr Musienko is a political and business consultant, head of the Center for Military and Legal Studies, and a lawyer.

The discussion was moderated by Roman Pohoriliy.

Experts believe that today the topic of joining ORDLO is covered in a distorted and manipulatively simplified way, which creates preconditions for strategic mistakes at the state level.

They proposed three possible scenarios for resolving the issue of the occupation of certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and annexation of Crimea. The first scenario –  armed, the second – a legal solution, and the third – political and diplomatic. Since the main goal of any scenario should be to establish the status quo of Ukraine in 2013.

The return of the occupied territories can take place either at any cost or on the terms of the aggressor, which will lead to even greater losses. The chosen scenario from the very beginning of the intervention of the Russian Federation, which was transformed into the Minsk Protocol, corresponds to the third scenario from the mentioned options. He has not brought us closer to returning territories under Ukrainian control in six years.

Therefore, the experts proposed a new algorithm for solving the problems of territories not under Ukraine’s control by giving them a single legal status as “occupied territories of Ukraine”. It will allow unblocking the Minsk process by following the “Steinmeier formula”, as well as avoiding the traps set in the Minsk agreements by the Russian Federation.

This can be realized by expanding the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, through the inclusion of certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. As the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is the territory of Ukraine, and autonomy is enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine, this decision does not require changes in it. And the Constitution of Ukraine already provides a special status for a certain territory, which is also annexed.

Thus, all territories occupied by the Russian Federation (both by annexation and by “effective management”) receive a single legal status and cannot be separated.

According to experts, in this way Ukraine is installing an additional safeguard that will maintain and strengthen sanctions against the Russian Federation. At the same time, the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine will receive all legal grounds for the calculation of contribution claims to the occupying country for compensation, economic recovery, and destroyed infrastructure in the occupied territories.

In addition, any military or sabotage action from the occupied territories will be officially and unequivocally treated by both Ukraine and its international partners as aggressive, military action by the Russian Federation (rather than the quasi-republics that the Russian Federation seeks to impose under the guise of special status).

This algorithm also envisages the restoration of the functioning of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as a representative body that will be legitimate from the point of view of the Constitution of Ukraine and the official representative body of the occupied territories. Until the moment of de-occupation, the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea will be located and exercise its powers on the territory of Ukraine, as is the case with the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

This method is one of the options to “freeze” the conflict, which does not involve the surrender of territories. However, it will not be internal conflict, as the Russian Federation claims, but a conflict with the occupying country.

Natalia Tolub

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