On 20/02/2014, media reported the killing of at least 17 people and wounding others in renewed clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces, which withdrew from the Ukrainian Independence Square in Kiev, while the protesters moved toward Parliament, which was evacuated, as well as the Prime Minister’s building… The Ukrainian authorities had announced on Wednesday, 2/19/2014 the start of an operation to combat “terrorism” targeting what they described as a hardcore, that caused the deaths of 26 people and the Independence Square looked like a battlefield! But yesterday, on 21/02/2014, it was announced that the Ukrainian president and the opposition have agreed on a compromise solution… Then today, 22/02/2014, it was announced that the Ukrainian parliament voted to depose the President and to hold early presidential elections on 25/05/2014.
The question is: Are these domestic incidents between the government and the opposition? Or international where America, the European Union and Russia, have their hands on it, and are stirring it? Is it a new Orange Revolution that will end the Russian influence permanently from Ukraine in favor of Western influence, as happened in the first revolution? Is Russia’s reaction expected like what happened in 2010? Jazaak Allahu khairan.
The answer will be clarified in the following points:
1. Ukraine has a long history of rivalry between Russia and Europe. It was historically divided by other countries such as Russia, the Ottoman Khilafah and particular in the Crimea, and Poland… After the First World War, the West and its agents conspired against the Ottoman Khilafah and it was abolished, and the Soviet Union emerged… Then after the Second War, America was at the lead of the alliance states that won the war. So that the warring countries over Ukraine were: the West and the Soviet Union; after the annexation of Poland to its republics, as well as Ukraine as the most important of the 15 republics that were formerly members of the Soviet Union… After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the states that emerged to rival for Ukraine are: Russia, America and the European Union, each of them has a strong interest in Ukraine:
As for Russia, moreover Ukraine is the most important country for it. If it were to lose it, the West would be directly on its borders. Therefore, it is like a shield protecting it from the European side. This is besides its economic significance, where Russian gas pipelines pass through it to the West. Ukraine is also important for Russia, because its industry, agriculture and energy sectors integrate with Russia. It is also a buffer zone between Russia and Europe. Therefore, Russia’s loss of Ukraine essentially puts Europe at the gate of Russia, where Ukraine is located only 300 km from Moscow. This is the reason for Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Another factor that makes Russia looks with great interest to Ukraine is because the majority of the population in Eastern Ukraine embraces the Orthodox doctrine and speaks Russian, this is on one hand, on the other hand the presence of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian military base there.
As for Europe, Ukraine serves as a separation barrier between Russia and Eastern Europe, crossing its territory to Europe, 80% of Russian natural gas, which constitutes a quarter of European consumption, and therefore it is of crucial importance for Europe. After Poland became a member of the European Union in 2004, and later in 2007 when Romania and Bulgaria joined the Union, Ukraine became a neighbor of the EU and of great importance for the EU. Thus from one side it is considered a bridge between Europe and Russia, and on the other side it is a buffer zone between them.
As for America, the Ukraine has a vital importance to the U.S., which is seeking to besiege the region of Russian influence. In addition, the ports of Ukraine are important for NATO and its warships when they enter the Black Sea. American influence in Ukraine means continuous hemorrhage to the Russian flank and a means to put pressure on it not to obstruct the American projects in the region, particularly in the Middle East.
2. As a result of America’s interest for Ukraine to become a NATO member, and Europe’s interest to have Ukraine become a member of the Union, the West stood with all its strength behind the Orange Revolution in 2004, and in the 2005 elections… and because Russia had yet to rid of the chaos remnants of the collapse of the Soviet Union… As a result of all that, the West succeeded in steering the Orange Revolution to achieve its goals. As it dropped the Russian candidate Yanukovych in the 2005 elections, and then the candidate of the West, especially America, Yushchenko won the presidency. Hence, the Russian influence receded in favor of the Western influence.
3. Events began to accelerate, carrying behind it the projects of Ukraine’s joining NATO and the European Union. America exploited the opportunity that Russia has lost the pro-Russia rule in the Ukraine in the 2005 elections and that, although Europe is interested in Ukraine’s joining the EU, but the Union still suffers from the problems of the Eastern European countries which joined it… And so the circumstances were favorable to America to take advantage of the outcome of the 2005 elections and the wining of its agent, Viktor Yushchenko. So it took the advantage of his reign to accelerate the integration of Ukraine with the West. Throughout his time in office, Yushchenko was threatening to expel the Russian Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol at the end of the Russian military lease there in 2017. Yushchenko has made no secret of his desire to fully integrate Ukraine into Western institutions such as the EU and NATO. Kiev has entered the negotiations on the Association Agreement with the European Union, and called for an action plan for membership in NATO… Thus we have seen how America exerted its efforts in the Orange Revolution, which brought Yushchenko to power, and Ukraine became in that era a key strategic partner of the United States of America. Ukraine was receiving economic aid from America, so it was in the third place after Israel and Egypt on the list of U.S. aid, in order to stop Ukraine’s economic reliance on Russia.
4. This situation had a significant impact on Russia; rather it is a provocation and a strike against its interests. After Ukraine was shook by the Orange Revolution in 2004, relations with Russia became strained due to Ukraine’s efforts to become a member of the EU and NATO. And because of Ukraine’s stance on the Black Sea Fleet Russian stationed in Sevastopol, and because of the conflicts regarding natural gas. But Russia was unable to stand in the face of that situation, which arose as a result of the 2005 elections for two main reasons. First: it did not fully recover from the effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the second is that America and Europe were not suffering from severe problems in their political and economic situations. In addition, there is no great controversy in the interests of both parties: America wants Ukraine in NATO and Europe wants it in the Union, then there was not a large difference between the two concerns… These two factors made Europe and America work together to keep Ukraine from Russia at a time when Russia, was unable to resist due to the circumstances that it was experiencing…
5. However, the circumstances have changed since late 2007 and especially in 2008, where America and Europe sank in the economic crisis at a time when Russia began to stabilize politically and economically, to some extent. This new circumstance was favorable to Russia to agitate the new rule in Ukraine after the Orange Revolution, especially economically via gas, while it is reassured that the United States and Europe are preoccupied with their own crises. Therefore, Russia made a great effort to inflame the situation against the rule of Yushchenko, especially in the eastern regions of Ukraine and some other areas that are loyal to it in Ukraine… Raising gas prices or halting it became an effective weapon in the pro-Western rule in Ukraine. This is in addition to stirring the loyalists in eastern Ukraine, so that when the 2010 election came, a fairly large number of the public in Ukraine felt the detriments of the pro-Western rule. Therefore, the election results came in favor of Russia and Yanukovych returned to rule. Russia was then relieved as Yanukovych signed several agreements with Moscow in the field of energy, and established economic cooperation between them. He proceeded to the development of relations in the fields of journalism, publishing, education, language and culture. Yanukovych has pointed to the possibility of a new deal concerning the Russian Black Sea fleet in return for a lowering of natural gas prices, and this is what occurred later.
Thus the election results came in favor of Russia, even though not by a significant difference, they were expressive of people’s discontent towards Yushchenko. The results of the first round has shown that he scored a low rate of 5.33%, Yulia Tymoshenko received about 25%, and Victor Yanukovych won about 35.5% of the votes. The second round of voting was held between the two highest polling candidates and Yanukovych won by about 49% of the vote with a margin of 3% for the pro-West candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, who received 46% of the vote. So Russia was able in February 2010 CE to bring back to power its agent in Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, the fourth president of the country, and a strong supporter of Russia. Since then the influence of the U.S. began to recess, and Ukraine headed towards the normalization of relations with Russia.
Although the difference in votes was only minor, Russia reaped from it effective results. The President Yanukovych, met with the Russian President Medvedev in Kharkiv after less than two months of taking office on 21/4/2010, and agreed at the meeting to extend the lease of the Black Sea Fleet for an additional 25 years ending in 2042 CE, instead of the previous appointment in 2017, and in return, the Russian Gazprom agreed to reduce the price of Russian natural gas to $100 per 1,000 m3 for the remaining period of the gas contract that had been signed in 2009.
6. Yanukovych continued in heading rapidly toward Russia. Apparently, he did not realize that this small difference in votes of 3% means that the agents of the West in Ukraine still have influence as do the agents of Russia… Furthermore, he thought that what he sees of harmony between America and Russia in other global problems would prevent America’s support for Europe if he turned his back on the pro-EU trade deal that was under discussion. Of course, this assumption was a mistake, and his assumptions ruined him. For America, although being in line with Russia, it is at the same time interested not only to have a foothold in Ukraine but also to be a base for NATO! This means that even if America stood in the face of Europe in order not to join Ukraine, it is not for the continuing of Russia’s influence in Ukraine, but for Ukraine to be for America! Had Yanukovych been politically aware, he would have taken this into account, but he did not… and so began the crisis.
7. Before discussing the start of the crisis, the causalities, and reaching a compromising settlement… and then parliament’s decision to impeach the president… etc. We need to show the positions of the three countries interested in Ukraine to show unequivocally that these three countries have had a role in the events of Ukraine, even though the degree of the involvement varied between them according to the opportunities available for each of them, and the requirements and interests of each one of these countries. These positions are as follows:
a. Russia: The Russian President Vladimir Putin criticised the European Union at the EU summit in Russia on January 25, 2014, he criticized the European Union for sending a high-level delegation to Ukraine during the anti-government protests, saying: “It could be interpreted as political interference.” He said at the end of the summit in Brussels: “I can imagine the reaction of our European partners, if in the midst of the Greece crisis or any other country our Foreign Minister attends an anti-European Union gathering and urged people to do something.” (Yahoo News 18/01/2014). Interfax quoted the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov as saying: “When John Kerry says… Ukraine has the right to choose who they want to be with - with the whole world or with a single state - John Kerry, his experience and common sense, is the last person I would expect him to make such a statement publicity.” The BBC reported about the unrest in the Ukraine on 01/02/2014 that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “What is the relationship between inciting violent protests in the streets and promoting democracy?... Why do many prominent European politicians encourage such acts, but at home they quickly punish severely any violations of the law?”
Russia considers what is happening in Ukraine as “coup attempt” to seize power. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said some Western countries hold the responsibility for the bloody events in Ukraine; he called on the West not to play the role of the mediator in the crisis. (Aljazeera 19/02/2014)
Reuters news agency quoted Glazyev the adviser to the Russian president in charge of relations with Ukraine in a press statement on 06/02/2014 confirming the American “intervention” that violated the signed Treaty in 1994 between Washington and Moscow that ensures the security and sovereignty of Ukraine, and commit to intervene when conflicts of this kind erupt. This was after Kiev got rid of its nuclear arsenal, which dates back to the Soviet era. The Russian official said that “what America is doing now is a blatant interference and unilaterally in the internal affairs of Ukraine which is a clear violation of that treaty, that stated the collective guarantees and the collective action.” (Reuters, Al Jazeera and 6 agencies, 07/02/2014)
b. The European Union: The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Radoslaw, announced that he was on the way to Kiev, commissioned by the European Union in an attempt to end the crisis there. Piotr Serafin, Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland, said that an agreement had been reached within the European Union to impose sanctions on Ukranian officials. For her part, the German Chancellor Merkel said during a news conference with the French President Francois Hollande, “that the European foreign ministers must discuss on Thursday, 20/02/2014 the form of sanctions to be imposed to show that Europe wants the return of the political process in Ukraine.” The European Union has pledged an aid package to Ukraine to end the pro-Europe protests taking place for more than two months. This was during the talks conducted by foreign policy officials in the EU, Catherine Ashton in Kiev with President Yanukovych and opposition leaders that adhered to the demands calling for the departure of the President.
For his part, the opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urged the European Union to mediate in the deep political crisis taking place in his country. Klitschko added that Ashton assured him that the European Union is ready to send high-level intermediaries for negotiations between the leaders of the opposition and the government. (Aljazeera 05/02/2014). The issue of Ukraine had dominated the security summit in Munich, Germany, in January 31, 2014. The head of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy said: “The offer is still available, and we know that time is on our side. Ukraine’s future concerns the European Union.” Reuters reported that the foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France were holding talks with the Ukrainian president, and did not leave the country, as some diplomatic sources mentioned. Some diplomatic sources were quoted as saying, “They are meeting with him now in an effort to find a way out of the crisis that is plaguing the country for months.” (Reuters 20/2/2014)
In a related context, Arseny Yatsenyuk - an ally of detained opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko - and the opposition leader and former boxing champion Vitali Klitschko met with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. Klitschko said that Germany and the European Union must play a leading role in finding a solution to the crisis in Ukraine. He stressed the importance of combining the Western pressure on Yanukovych with what he called a positive program of the Ukrainian people through financial assistance and the elimination or mitigation of the visa system with Europe. For her part, Merkel called for Kiev to form a new government and constitutional reform, she said in a statement that “the amnesty agreement for the protesters is a positive step and more steps should be taken in this direction.” (Aljazeera 18/02/2014).
c. As for America: Reuters reported on Friday 7/2/2014 from Washington: “A conversation posted on YouTube between an official in the State Department and the U.S. ambassador in Ukraine revealing a clear change in the American strategy towards political transition in this state.” It added: “the talks, which were published on YouTube on Tuesday, 04/02/2014, Deputy U.S. Secretary of State Victoria Noland informed the U.S.
Ambassador in Kiev, Jeffrey Bayat, that she believes that Vitali Klitschko the former boxing champion-turned-politician, a leader of the main opposition must be in the new government.” Despite the fact that Klitschko was welcome in Europe, and in particular by the European delegation who met the Ukrainian president and the opposition who one of its leaders is Klitschko, but the Deputy U.S. Secretary of State Victoria Noland in the conversation with the American ambassador was not pleased with the opinion of the European Union, and said, “Let the EU go to hell”. Noland indicated to involve the United Nations in resolving the political crisis in Kiev, and although Noland apologized for her statement but this reveals that America’s direction is not necessarily identical to Europe’s direction.
Obama strongly condemned the violence that erupted in Ukraine blaming the government in Kiev as responsible for the suppression of the demonstrators, and called on the government to exercise restraint, and not to use military force in addressing the issues that should be resolved in civilised ways, but the U.S. president stressed that at the same time the demonstrators must remain peaceful and realize that violence is not the way to follow. This comes at the same time as the announcement by the White House that they are watching the situation in Ukraine closely. Ben Rhodes, one of the national security advisers to the U.S. president, said that the U.S. administration was consulting with the European Union about the next steps that must be taken, including the imposition of sanctions on Ukraine. (Gate News from ASHA Thursday, 20/02/2014)
Also, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said: “There is no place where the struggle for the future of democratic Europe more important than it is today in Ukraine. The United States and the European Union stand with the people of Ukraine in that battle.” (As reported on the BBC: Ukrainian Unrest, 01/02/2014)
• What is clear from these positions and statements is the following:
Russia considers Ukraine as a vital issue for it. It is exerting all efforts to support the president strongly economically. During the protests Russia signed an agreement with Ukraine on Tuesday, December 17, under which Ukraine gets a discount rate of 33% on the supply of natural gas from 400 dollars to 268 dollars per thousand cubic meters, Moscow has agreed to also buy $15 billion worth of Ukrainian debt, (Yahoo News 18/01/2014). To prove the critical importance of Ukraine from the Russian point of view, the Russian representative did not attend the signing of the agreement, which was on Friday 21/02/2014 with the Russian approval because Yanukovich cannot conclude an agreement without its consent, but Russia wants from behind the withdrawal of its representative to give a decisive view that the only solution for Ukraine that it accepts is that Ukraine is Russia’s! In addition, it was a form of consolation for Russia’s supporters in Ukraine, who were not pleased with the agreement.
The European Union, was a touchstone of the matter, their delegation went back and forth and they managed the agreement and its signing, and their relationship was obvious with the opposition even more the opposition openly called for the assistance of Europe. The reason for the protest was the rejection of Yanukovych to sign the trade agreement with Europe.
As for America it is clear from its position that it is trying to satisfy both sides: Europe and Russia, it wants Ukraine to remain outside the European Union, but with the NATO, actually run by America, by keeping Ukraine a state outside the European Union plays on the emotions of Russia, at the same time Ukraine will be used as a pressure card by America to ensure continued Russian cooperation in Russian-American projects and especially in the Middle East.
8. As for the crisis and how it began, and is it a new Orange Revolution that ends Russian influence in favour of the West, as what happened in the Orange Revolution in 2004 to 2005 where the Western influence dominated in Ukraine? And whether the Russian influence is expected to return, as in the 2010 elections? This can be understood as follows:
a. Ukraine was scheduled sign a trade deal with the European Union in the Eastern Partnership summit in November 21 in Fellneo, Lithuania. But the Ukrainian government refused to sign the agreement, and proposed instead the establishment of a tripartite trade committee between Ukraine and the European Union and Russia; its mission will be to solve business issues between the parties. This rejection is what sparked mass protests in the streets of Kiev… then recent crisis broke out, where about 200,000 people rallied on 15/12/ 2013 in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, and matters continued to escalate.
b. Then protests began to escalate: ongoing protests… domination and pitching tents in Independence Square… some government buildings were seized… demands for the resignation of the President or limitation of his powers… demands to reinstate the Constitution of 2004, which transfers power from the president to the parliament… demands to release detainees, especially Yulia Timoshenko… then what happened in the days of 18, 19 and 20 from the incidents of violence and deaths and injuries. In which the Ukrainian authorities had announced on the 18/2/2014 the start of the operations against terrorism targeting oppositions named as extremists, while the government’s forces continue to raid the center of protests in Kiev which killed around 26 people.
The government had also issued a state of emergency law then passed an anti-protest law, it then tried to engage the opposition party in power by presenting the position of Prime Minister to them within the rule of the President… and then the raid attempt at Independence Square that resulted in the deaths and injuries, until it was announced on 21/2/2014 that the dialogue between the opposition and the ruling party was concluded with signing a solution of agreement requiring early elections and constitutional amendments… Media outlets have announced on Friday 21/2/2014 that three Ukrainian opposition leaders have signed an agreement with President Viktor Yanukovych in the presidential palace to end the crisis, with the presence of mediators of the European Union, while the Moscow representative left the negotiations from Ukraine to his country and did not attend the ceremony of signing the agreement… then on this day, 22/2/2014, the parliament announced the impeachment of the president and called for early elections…
Remarkably, although the European Union was the one that handled the dialogue meetings and negotiated the agreements, but it was Obama who made the first call to Putin after signing the agreement, a senior US State Department official said that Obama held a “constructive” phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Friday and agreed it was important that Ukraine’s peace agreement be implemented quickly and that Ukraine’s economy is stabilized.
The official told reporters on a conference call that they agreed that the agreement reached today needed to be implemented quickly, that it was very important to encourage all sides to refrain from violence, that there was a real opportunity here for a peaceful outcome. (AlJazeera 22/02/2014 3:03 GMT)
c. Whereas do these demonstrations pose a new Orange Revolution as happened in 2004 – 2005? And is a Russian backlash expected as what had happened in 2010? So to answer this question, we have to take into consideration that the conditions today differ from 2005 and 2010, and none of the three mentioned parties currently has the ability to hold all the strings together and produce a real solution for it. And for a clearer picture, we will recall the following:
- At the time of the Orange Revolution, Russia was suffering from the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, it has not yet settled as a major State neither politically nor economically, at a time when Europe and America united together to support the Orange Revolution, and it was important for America and Europe that Ukraine falls from Russia’s grip, making the scale in Ukraine lean towards the stronger party (America and Europe). America was assured that its agent Yushchenko will indisputably outweigh the scale to their side, and therefore the conflict between the two parties, “America and Europe” on the strong side, and Russia on the weak side, so Russia was unable to support its pro-president, who was defeated in the 2005 elections and Yushchenko, America’s man became the President of Ukraine…
- As for the year 2010, Russia had then recovered to a certain extent, and an acceptable political and economic stability was noted, while at the same time, America and Europe were drowning in the economic crisis, almost perishing because of it, therefore Russia in this circumstance was able to drown the pro-Western ruling system in Ukraine through Economic crises and in particular Gas, in addition to stirring its active loyalists in Ukraine, and therefore, Yanukovich, Russia’s man, won elections, although he won by a narrow margin of 3% of the votes, but to some extent, he restored Russia’s influence.
- As for the current situation, all three powers have internal and external crises… this is in addition to the fact that America does not want Ukraine to be a part of Europe, but wants it to be its own center of influence apart from the European Union, using it as a means of pressure and temptation for Russia to continue collaborating with America in its plans particularly in the Middle East, so Ukraine not being incorporated into the European Union satisfies Russia even if America has the major share in Ukraine instead of Russia!
-Therefore, it is not expected that any of the three sides will be able to completely take Ukraine, at least in the foreseeable future. Instead, a compromise solution is expected, such as for the current President to resign, or be ousted, and/or for early presidential elections to take place to produce a consensual president with curtailed powers according to the 2004 Constitution or an amended constitution, and such solutions based on the capitalist method, or the compromise solution. In other words, it is unlikely that the new situation in Ukraine will be exclusively in the interests of one of the three sides, and therefore, any president who will be appointed in Ukraine will be bound by the ropes of these three sides’ productions, at least for the foreseeable future…
- This solution, however, remains a time bomb that may explode at any time when new circumstances enable any of the three sides to attain complete influence in Ukraine, because these three sides remain capitalistic, and based on interest, so they have no fixed values, instead they change, will be on the side of the most numerous and the most sinister, and the most ruthlessly violent.
- And therefore these compromises are not more than sedatives dictated by the current conditions for the three sides, and whenever the active conditions change, matters will become strained again, and the situation in Ukraine will not stabilize unless the Khilafah state is established for the Muslims and returns Crimea and the surrounding area under its authority, and then matters will stabilize and goodness will spread worldwide. For Islam is a mercy to the worlds, and does not oppress anyone under its authority and no one will go hungry or unclothed, Allah (swt) willing, and instead one remains honored and safe from insult and assault, and all are citizens of the state and have their rights over it and their responsibilities according to the Rulings of the Shariah whether they are Muslim citizens or non-Muslims,
((وَاللَّهُ غَالِبٌ عَلَى أَمْرِهِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ))
“And Allah is predominant over His affair, but most of the people do not know” [Yusuf: 21]