Friday, 20 July 2018

Réseau Voltaire -- Vers un référendum au Donbass ?


RÉSEAU VOLTAIRE | 20 JUILLET 2018
_______________ 

Selon Bloomberg, le président Vladimir Poutine aurait proposé à son homologue états-unien Donald Trump de régler ensemble la question du Donbass [1].
Un référendum pourrait être tenu, sous la surveillance de la communauté internationale, pour permettre aux habitants de cette région de choisir leur avenir.
Le président Trump aurait réservé sa réponse.
Les accords de Minsk prévoyaient quant à eux l’adoption par la Douma ukrainienne d’un statut particulier pour le Donbass et l’organisation d’élections locales ; des engagements auquel le président ukrainien Pedro Porochenko (photo) s’est opposé.
En mai 2014, les rebelles du Donbass avaient organisé un référendum d’indépendance auquel la population avait massivement adhéré, soulevant la fureur des Occidentaux.
     
Source : « Vers un référendum au Donbass ? », Réseau Voltaire, 20 juillet 2018, www.voltairenet.org/article202076.html

 Bloomberg
Ilya Arkhipov

20 hrs ago
Trump, left, shakes hands with Putin during a news conference in Helsinki on July 16.: U.S. President Donald Trump And Russian President Vladimir Putin's Helsinki Summit
© Bloomberg U.S. President Donald Trump And Russian President Vladimir Putin's Helsinki Summit

(Bloomberg) -- Vladimir Putin told Russian diplomats that he made a proposal to Donald Trump at their summit this week to hold a referendum to help resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine, but agreed not to disclose the plan publicly so the U.S. president could consider it, according to two people who attended Putin’s closed-door speech on Thursday.

Details of what the two leaders discussed in their summit in Helsinki, Finland, remain scarce, with much of the description so far coming from Russia. While Putin portrayed the Ukraine offer as a sign he’s seeking to bring the four-year-old crisis to an end, a referendum is likely to be a hard sell with Ukraine and its backers in Europe, who remain committed to an 2015 European-brokered truce deal for the Donbas region, parts of which are controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
White House officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. If Putin’s account of Trump’s reaction is accurate, it would suggest a more flexible approach than the U.S. has shown to date on the issue. At the Helsinki meeting, Trump also agreed to consider a Putin request to question the former U.S. ambassador to Moscow over U.S. campaign-finance violations that critics say Trump should have dismissed outright.
Putin gave his latest account of the meeting during at a conference with top Russian ambassadors and officials at the Foreign Ministry in Moscow, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing the president’s comments to the part of the session that was closed to the public. One of the people said that Trump had requested Putin not discuss the referendum idea at the press conference after the summit in order to give the U.S. leader time to mull it.
U.S. President Donald Trump met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, 2018. The meeting between the two finished with a joint press conference at which Trump appeared to defend Putin against claims made by American intelligence agencies regarding Russia’s involvement in the last U.S. presidential elections.
Trump’s comments have drawn criticism from politicians and celebrities. Check out some of those reactions.
Referendum Proposal
Putin’s proposal would call for a vote conducted under international auspices by the residents of the separatist territories on their status, the people said. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the details of what Putin said about Ukraine at the summit, saying only, “Some new ideas were discussed. They will be worked on.”
On Twitter Thursday, Trump called the summit “a great success” and cited Ukraine among the areas discussed, without providing details.
Putin’s proposal will alarm Ukrainian officials after Trump last week appeared to leave open the possibility of recognizing Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, which triggered the crisis that led to fighting in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Ukraine has offered the areas autonomy under its rule and backs the deployment of international peacekeepers in the region.
The U.S. and the European Union have repeatedly accused Russia of sending troops and weapons to support separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russia denies the charge, though Ukraine has captured a number of Russian soldiers and weaponry on its territory.
Putin pointed to a 2014 referendum, which wasn’t internationally recognized, that was held in Crimea to justify Russia’s annexation at his press conference with Trump after the summit in Helsinki on Monday. “We believe that we held a referendum in strict compliance with international law,” he said. “This case is closed for Russia.”
‘Farce’ Votes
Leaders of so-called rebel republics in Donetsk and Luhansk held referendums in May 2014 that declared independence. The votes were rejected as illegal by the U.S. and the European Union, while Ukraine called them a “farce.” Russia said at the time that it “respects” the votes, which showed as much as 96 percent support for breaking away from Ukraine.
Last year, Putin angered his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, by signing a decree recognizing passports and other documents issued by the separatist governments in Luhansk and Donetsk, which have already declared the ruble their official currency.
If a referendum was held in rebel areas of eastern Ukraine, “the result would be the same as in Crimea,” which voted to join Russia, Igor Plotnitsky, who was then leader of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic, told Russian state-run RIA Novosti news service in March last year.
--With assistance from Stepan Kravchenko and Margaret Talev.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at iarkhipov@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory L. White at gwhite64@bloomberg.net, Tony Halpin, Torrey Clark
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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