How independent is Ukraine?

Ukraine celebrated the 25th anniversary of its independence on Wednesday with festivities across the country and a military parade in Kiev. But the country has little cause to rejoice, commentators conclude unanimously.

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NaTemat (PL) /

No cause for celebration 25 years on

Ukraine's proclamation of independence 25 years ago was a turning point, political scientist Adam Szłapka points out on his blog with naTemat:

“This was a breakthrough in the history of Ukraine and a singular event for all Europe. The Ukrainians were able to feel what freedom means, but they were also made aware that they are responsible for their own destiny. … Unfortunately corrupt elites have destroyed the Ukrainians' dreams of an independent state. … It is hard to celebrate a quarter of a century of independence when we still have to fight for it each and every day. And in the truest sense of the word. It's hard to celebrate when the country has fallen victim to aggression and an unprecedented shifting of its borders and when shots fired by foreign soldiers can be heard on its territory.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Independent, whether Moscow likes it or not

Ukraine has achieved its independence against huge odds, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung comments:

“Some see Ukraine as a hopeless case: consumed by corruption, in the grips of the oligarchs. ... It's true, Ukraine is no model for the rule of law, transparency and good governance. ... Yes, it is a divided country. But Russia has done much to deepen the rift. The war in the east has claimed more than 9,000 lives so far. And all this just because the majority of Ukrainians wanted - and still want - their country to 'move closer to Europe'? Clearly, yes. For that reason the West should support Ukraine in its modernisation and not be hindered by Moscow's protests. The situation is clear: Ukraine is independent, whether Russia likes it or not.”

Evenimentul Zilei (RO) /

Ukraine being drawn into a conventional war

25 years after its independence Ukraine is once again facing Russian aggression, Evenimentul Zilei points out:

“What's clear is that the troops aren't being boosted to put on a Christmas fireworks display but to carry out military missions. The artillery of the separatists [in eastern Ukraine] is being increased while on the Ukrainian side the number of deaths and casualties rises daily. According to the Ukrainian intelligence, the type of weapons and troops being sent to the region marks a fundamental change: whereas before they were mainly prepared for a defensive, smouldering, scattered conflict, the agenda here is a conventional, large-scale, protracted conflict. This all points to growing pressure and to Russia being intent on maintaining the situation in Ukraine unstable.”