“Ukraine’s President Offers Deal to Separatists as Truce Frays”
The Washington Post, September 16, 2014, p.A7
“President Petro Poroshenko on Monday proposed a series of major concessions to end the uprising by pro-Russian rebels in restive eastern Ukraine, offering the separatists a broad amnesty and special self-governance status for territories they occupy. The proposal also includes protections for the Russian language and would allow the separatist-controlled regions to elect their own judges, create their own police forces and cultivate deeper ties to Russia — while remaining part of Ukraine. … Some of the elements of Poroshenko’s plan resembled the so-called frozen conflicts in which Russian-backed partisans have seized control of territories in Georgia and Moldova, thus giving Moscow leverage over those countries and complicating their efforts to join NATO. But Poroshenko defended his proposal, insisting that despite the broad concessions, it would succeed in maintaining the rebel-held territories within the boundaries of Ukraine and prevent their independence. … Although the special self-governance status would be guaranteed for only three years, it appeared to allow the separatists a chance to solidify their power in the regions where they have seized control, allegedly with the aid of Moscow.”
Quickie Analysis: In truth, local political and linguistic autonomy seems a small price to pay and, if nothing else, would roll back some of the anti-Russian measures taken after Ukrainian independence.