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DPR and LPR Confirm What We Said: They Did NOT Recognize Crimea as Ukrainian

DPR and LPR negotiators bury story caused by misrepresentation of amendments they proposed to Ukraine's constitution

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Since I wrote my previous piece on this bizarre story (see The LPR and DPR Did NOT Recognize Crimea as Part of Ukraine, Russia Insider, 10th June 2015) the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics have revoked publication of the amended article 133.

They did so precisely in order to close the story down.  

In doing so they have provided the identical explanation to the one I did.  

The report from Interfax report setting out the comments of Pushilin and Deinego, the chief negotiators of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, reads as follows:

“MOSCOW. June 10 (Interfax) - The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics have decided to revoke additional amendments to the Ukrainian constitution mentioning Crimea and Sevastopol, which they presented to the Trilateral Contact Group two days ago, the Donetsk news agency has said.

"There is no doubt, the DPR and the LPR regard Crimea as a part of Russia. Moreover, our republics think it would be ideal to join the Russian Federation," said the report quoting the DPR and LPR negotiators, Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego, as saying.

The negotiators reiterated the validity of the other amendments.

"The mention of Crimea in the draft amendments we have proposed to individual articles of the current Ukrainian constitution has a purely technical and legal meaning; this mention does not have any substantive significance for the simple reason that Crimea is not and cannot be a subject of the Minsk negotiations. We suggest that Ukraine should accept the other amendments immediately," the report said.

The amendments mentioning Crimea and Sevastopol are being revoked "in order to avoid further speculation, as Ukrainian propaganda is trying present insignificant formalities as a political event," it said.”

The Interfax report is interesting in one other respect in that it confirms the People’s Republics’ desire is to unite with Russia.

Whilst this is in truth a complete non-story, it does again illustrate one particular point.

The constitutional amendments were published to strengthen Russia’s position in diplomatic discussions that are currently underway.  

They appear to have been published to coincide with a telephone conversation Russian foreign minister Lavrov had with German foreign minister Steinmeier.  

Lavrov complained to Steinmeier about Kiev’s failure to enter into constitutional negotiations with the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as it is required to do by the terms of the Minsk Memorandum. Publication of the constitutional amendments was intended to remind Steinmeier of Kiev’s obligation to enter into constitutional negotiations and its failure to do so, in contrast to the readiness to do so of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

This is not an unusual play. In 1972 the Vietnamese did the same thing when they published the text of the draft Paris Peace Accords in order to rally diplomatic support on the eve of the US Christmas bombing of Hanoi.

However in dealing with the Ukrainian government and the Western media such an approach carries risk. As should be obvious by now, they take no prisoners, and given the risk for misrepresentation inherent in publishing draft amendments that should at this stage be discussed only in private, this was perhaps a play too far.

In any event, with the publication of the latest comments of the negotiators of the People’s Republics, this episode is now closed.

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