Contrary to the intention of the OSCE Chairman, Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Russia, the OSCE roadmap to defuse the situation in Ukraine is being sabotaged by the coup-imposed government in Kiev, which has refused to invite opponents from southeast Ukraine despite the fact that Steinmeier called on May 13 for Ukraine to invite the rebel provinces to the talks.
According to the Kyiv Post, Ukraine invited Wolfgang Ischinger, who is acting as the envoy of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), to attend the roundtable on national unity held at Verkhovna Rada on May 14. However, speaking in Brussels yesterday, interim Prime Minister Arseni Yatsenyuk had thanked the OSCE for its roadmap plan but said Ukraine had its own ideas for ending the crisis. A joint statement by Yatsenyuk and Acting President Alexander Turchynov issued May 13 declared: “We are ready to talk to all those who pursue legitimate political goals, who are prepared to advance them by legal means and who have no blood on their hands.”
The Kiev sabotage is backed by the Obama administration. According to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, the U.S. understands the Ukrainian government’s unwillingness to have participants who “literally have blood on their hands” at roundtable discussions on constitutional reform and national unity in the country. “But those who represent the regions where there are issues that merit serious dialogue around constitutional reform and levels of autonomy for different regions as it relates to the center are certainly part of this effort, and we commend it,” Carney added.
In his opening remarks, Turchynov said authorities were “ready for a dialogue,” but insisted they will not talk to the separatists who have seized buildings and fought government troops across eastern Ukraine. Turchynov said: “Let’s have a dialogue, let’s discuss specific proposals,” Turchynov said, “But those armed people who are trying to wage a war on their own country, those who are with arms in their hands trying to dictate their will, or rather the will of another country, we will use legal procedures against them and they will face justice.”
The coup-imposed acting President also said the government would not stop its offensive to retake eastern cities.
Federalists in Donetsk responded: “We haven’t received any offers to join a roundtable and dialogue,” said Denis Pushilin, an insurgent leader in Donetsk. “If the authorities in Kiev want a dialogue, they must come here. If we go to Kiev, they will arrest us.”
In Moscow, Sergei Naryshkin, speaker of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, said today that the Ukrainian authorities’ refusal to speak to their foes and the continuing military operation in the east will undermine the legitimacy of Ukraine’s May 25 presidential vote.
The insurgents in Luhansk have already said they won’t allow the Presidential ballot to be held there and Pushilin said they will try to prevent the Presidential vote from taking place.
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, among those running for president, criticized the Kiev authorities for failing to engage their opponents and urged the government to move the roundtable discussions from Kiev to Donetsk.
Denis Patkovsky, a member of the anti-Kiev militia in the eastern city of Slavyansk, said :”The government in Kiev does not want to listen to the people of Donetsk…They just come here with their guns.”