A survey poll was conducted by Ilka Kucheriv Fund “Democratic initiatives” from April 11 to April 24, 2019 among MPs and government officials. 23 MPs and 24 governmental and local officials participated. This research was done within the framework of “Transition to peace process in Donbas: higher inclusiveness of local communities in potential peacekeeping mission” project with the financial support of Canadian Embassy to Ukraine.
- Themajority of the respondents suggests that the situation in the uncontrolled territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions has improved as in contrast to 2014-2015, while quarter of respondents indicates major improvements and more than a half notifies positive trends in some spheres.
- Most advices for incumbent President concern aspects which can be delegated to other governmental bodies. In particular, it is the task for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to draw up a draft resolution for the Security Council to create a peacekeeping mission in Donbas; addressing the United States, Britain, France and China as signatories of the Budapest Memorandum to consider the issue ofsupporting Ukraine’s efforts to restore sovereignty over Donbas; issuing a lawsuit for the introduction of a visa regime with the Russian Federation. In addition, it is considered necessary to instruct the Security Service of Ukraine to prepare an appeal to the judicial authorities of Ukraine to recognize “DPR / LPR” as terrorist organizations. Many respondents also offered their alternativeaction plans, which is highlightedtherein in details.
- As for the agenda of Ukrainian parliament(Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine), the respondents recommend the following steps for the de-occupation of the abovementioned territories: 1) adoption of a law on colaboration, which will determine the conditions of punishment and amnesty of persons who collaborated with the occupational authorities in the occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions; 2) ratification of the Statute of the International Criminal Court, which enables prosecution of political leaders of Russian Federation and separatists for war crimes committed in Donbas; 3) adoption ofthe law on nationalization of property of persons who actively and directly contributed to the occupation of the Ukrainian territory, supported separatism, terrorism and persecution of Ukrainian citizens in the occupied territories.
- The respondents believe that the Cabinet of Ministers should focus primarily on rebuilding economy and infrastructure in Ukrainian controlled teritories. More often, respondents talked about tax holidays for investors who open new businesses in Donetsk and Luhansk regions; rebuilding of highways; increase in throughput, comfort and safety at the check-points; financing of modernization of networks of heating and water supply; continuous monitoring of the ecological situation and taking measures to stop the air, water and soil pollution.
- Respondents named the main problems that are the most urgent for the inhabitants of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, primarily the continuation of armed aggression of Russia and the dominance of Russian propaganda in informational sphere. In addition, according to the respondents, the socio-economic problems are crucial and they are as follows: unemployment, enterprises’ shutdowns, difficulties in resettlement of forced migrants from the occupied territories. MPs and officials namecorruption of the local authorities a serious problem.
- According to the respondents, there are three key aspects that can ensure sustainable peace and de-occupation of the invaded territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. These are: 1) enhanced sanctions against Russian Federation and Russian-backed separatists; 2) strengthening of the armed forces of Ukraine and intensified preparations for the liberating military operation on occupied territories; 3) active work on expanding the coalition of states that support Ukrainian plan of the deployment of UN peacekeeping contingent on the whole occupied territory. Other options for action, in particular regarding amnesty, or “special status” of these territories, have not been supported by the respondents.
- Negotiations with separatists are not possible until the liberation of the occupied territories – this is the position of the majority of the polled MPs and officials. However, there is often a possibility of conducting indirect negotiations through a mediation mission or negotiations on technical issues, such as ecology or vital infrastructure.But there is no possibility of negotiations on political issues due to the lack of legitimacy of separatists as a negotiation party.
- The respondents agree on the need for productive NGOs work in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. According to the respondents, the most useful activities of the NGOsinclude the control over the work of local authorities, assistance in solving local development issues, providing legal and other assistance in protecting the rights of local population, as well as providing people with verifiable information, fighting Russian propaganda and helping military and volunteers in the defense of Donbass.
Source: Democratic Initiatives Foundation