Russia criticizes Ukraine-Croatia cooperation plans
Foreign Ministry issued a June 17 statement criticizing the cooperation agreement signed
last week between the Ukrainian and Croatian governments in reintegrating occupied Donbas
into the Ukrainian state. The statement criticized “the lack of productiveness and
irrelevance of sich steps, that in no way support resolving the internal Ukrainian
conflict.” It criticized the creation of “parallel structures” instead of supporting
dialogue with the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk.
The June 13
agreement calls upon a working group of Ukrainians and Croatians to study the Croatian
experience in reintegrating the occupied territories and returning refugees, renewing the
trust of the public and infrastructure, and working with international assistance in
reintegrating the territories.
Zawada: From the very
outset of the Donbas warfare, top Ukrainian officials indicated they would take the
Croatian strategy in dealing with Donbas. In essence, this approach involves exhausting
the separatist rebels, as the Croatians had done in the Krajina region in 1993-1995, and
then launching a swift military strike taking control and reintegrating the territory.
Ukrainian authorities likely considered this strategy without considering how much the
Russians would invest in Donbas and how long they could withstand Western
Now it’s apparent that the Croatian approach is not feasible, as the
Ukrainian side is just as exhausted after three years of fighting, if not more so. So
while such cooperation is helping Ukrainians understand what can be done with Donbas, we
don’t see that approach as realistic in resolving the war.
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