Donetsk rebels proclaim "Little Russia"
In a move that has triggered widespread consternation Donetsk rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko on Tuesday proclaimed the new state of Malorossiya, or "Little Russia". Allied rebels in Luhansk have distanced themselves from the initiative while Moscow registered surprise. How does the press view Zakharchenko's move?
The proclamation of "Little Russia" is nothing but hot air in Pravda's opinion:
“This is a desperate attempt by pro-Russian separatists to give themselves a political programme. It even seems to have taken the Kremlin by surprise. The separatists are going beyond exchanges of fire with the Ukrainian army and using political fantasies to draw attention to themselves. … As long as the southeast of Ukraine is in flames Ukraine remains a battlefield. … This torpedoes any chance of Ukraine joining the EU. And as long as there is no guaranteed border with Russia Ukraine has no chance of closer ties to Nato. Putin's goal is not a 'Little Russia'. He wants to keep the conflict smouldering so that Ukraine remains an unstable country.”
Entirely in Moscow's interests
The Kremlin could use the proclamation of "Little Russia" to blackmail Kiev and the West, Die Welt warns:
“Moscow wants to force Ukraine to grant Donetsk and Luhansk 'autonomous status' without the Russian military having to withdraw, the 'separatist' groups laying down their weapons or the Ukrainian government regaining control of its border with Russia. … Officially Moscow may be respecting the terms of the Minsk Protocol but it is making no attempt to fulfil the obligations that arise from that agreement. In the meantime its governors in Donbass are expanding the parallel structures of their pseudo-state. … The Kremlin is keeping up its sleeve the threat to officially recognise this [construction] if the West doesn't give in to its demands.”
Regional tensions growing
Journalist Cristian Unteanu discerns further unsettling developments on his blog with Adevărul:
“If, in a parallel development and to the delight of President Dodon, the Republic of Moldova moves closer to the Kremlin, as now seems likely, we have every reason to worry. In Romania, too, the calls for autonomy - although based on a different understanding of geopolitics - are growing ever louder, both in the [predominantly Hungarian-speaking] Székely Land and in Transylvania.”