Germany Pushes Broad Plan to Settle Russia-Ukraine Dispute

Deal Would Recognize Crimean Accession Into Russian Federation

The dispute between Russia and the new Ukrainian government covers several broad areas of dispute, and the German government is reportedly pushing a “grand bargain” sort of deal to settle everything at once, ending the crisis outright.

The German interest is primarily economic. At present Ukraine has no gas deal with Russia’s Gazprom company, and the risk is that later this year Ukraine’s stockpile will run out, they’ll start siphoning, and Gazprom will be forced to stop using the pipeline, which supplies a large portion of Europe with natural gas, including Germany. It could be a cold winter without this.

A key portion of the plan would be to get Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz to agree to a long-term deal, reportedly roughly in line with what Russia was offering when talks broke down.

On the issue of East Ukraine, Russia would agree to stop backing the separatists there, in return for a promise of significant reforms in the Ukrainian government to grant the region more autonomy. Again, this was roughly what Russia was pushing months ago.

Ukraine would formally promise not to ever join NATO, and Russia would agree not to object to increased Ukrainian trade with the European Union.

Last but not least, Russia would agree to a “financial aid” package of cash worth what Ukraine would have gotten in rent for the remaining years of its Sevastopol base deal, and in return the international community would recognize Crimea’s secession earlier this year as legal, as well as its accession into the Russian Federation.

The deal has reportedly been on the table for awhile, and is said to be the only game in town, with no real alternatives being present, the primary obstacles are Ukraine’s opposition to making a deal with Russia, Russia’s reluctance to commit to aid to a government that is openly hostile, and the US opposition to international recognition of Crimea’s accession into Russia.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.