Summary: We interviewed several Ukrainians on the peace plan. Kiev ones side with the president. Kharkiv and Krivoy rig do not want to pay for repairs to the occuppied territories. They would give them to Russia.
Most feel the war will not end due to the politics. As deaths and injuries mount, the call to end the war will mount.
We know the Crimea is signifiant to Russia as a strategic Black Sea naval base. No Diplomatic means will work.
Background on the peace plan.
On Feb. 19, the right-wing Ukrainian member of parliament was sucked into the scandal surrounding President Donald Trump and his alleged ties to Russia when the New York Times reported that Artemenko had served as a back channel between Moscow and Trump associates.
In the aftermath of the report, Artemenko was forced out of his political faction in Ukraine, the far-right Radical Party, and the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine has opened an investigation into whether his diplomatic outreach, which was done without Kiev’s approval, constitutes treason.
In an interview with Foreign Policy, Artemenko denied any connections between him and the Kremlin, praised the early stages of the Trump presidency, and rebuffed elements of the Times report, saying he was unfairly caught up in a fight between the U.S. president and the “liberal media.” The lawmaker also accused Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of not being interested in ending the war in the Donbass and said he was using Russia as an excuse to scapegoat his critics.
The New York Times reported that Artemenko said his peace proposal had received encouragement from top aides to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin.
Artemenko pitched his loosely defined plan, which calls for Russian separatists to return eastern territory to Kiev. It calls for holding a national referendum on leasing Crimea to Russia for a period of 30 to 50 years. “Maybe it’s dual management of Crimea, or maybe it’s a lease like the Panama Canal and Hong Kong,” said Artemenko, who prefers to call his proposal a “road map for peace” rather than a set plan. “It should be obvious that there is no military solution, only a diplomatic one.”
Russia says it will never return Crimea to Ukraine, making the idea of leasing it to Moscow improbable even if it could gain support in Ukraine, where many people would oppose voluntarily granting Russia any form of control over the peninsula.
At a security conference in Munich on Friday, Mr. Poroshenko warned the West against “appeasement” of Russia, and some American experts say offering Russia any alternative to a two-year-old international agreement on Ukraine would be a mistake. The Trump administration has sent mixed signals about the conflict in Ukraine.
But given Mr. Trump’s praise for Mr. Putin, John Herbst, a former American ambassador to Ukraine, said he feared the new president might be too eager to mend relations with Russia at Ukraine’s expense — potentially with a plan like Mr. Artemenko’s.
It was late January 2017 when the three men associated with the proposed plan converged on the Loews Regency, a luxury hotel on Park Avenue in Manhattan where business deals are made in a lobby furnished with leather couches, over martinis at the restaurant bar and in private conference rooms on upper floors.
Mr. Cohen, 50, lives two blocks up the street, in Trump Park Avenue. A lawyer who joined the Trump Organization in 2007 as special counsel, he has worked on many deals, including a Trump-branded tower in the republic of Georgia and a short-lived mixed martial arts venture starring a Russian fighter. He is considered a loyal lieutenant whom Mr. Trump trusts to fix difficult problems.
Mr. Cohen has a personal connection to Ukraine: He is married to a Ukrainian woman and once worked with relatives there to establish an ethanol business.
Mr. Artemenko, tall and burly, arrived at the Manhattan hotel between visits to Washington. (His wife, he said, met the first lady, Melania Trump, years ago during their modeling careers, but he did not try to meet Mr. Trump.) He had attended the inauguration and visited Congress, posting on Facebook his admiration for Mr. Trump and talking up his peace plan in meetings with American lawmakers.
He entered Parliament in 2014, the year that the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych fled to Moscow amid protests over his economic alignment with Russia and corruption. Mr. Manafort, who had been instrumental in getting Mr. Yanukovych elected, helped shape a political bloc that sprang up to oppose the new president, Mr. Poroshenko, a wealthy businessman who has taken a far tougher stance toward Russia and accused Mr. Putin of wanting to absorb Ukraine into a new Russian Empire. Mr. Artemenko, 48, emerged from the opposition that Mr. Manafort nurtured. (The two men have never met, Mr. Artemenko said.)
Mr. Artemenko said he saw in Mr. Trump an opportunity to advocate a plan for peace in Ukraine — and help advance his own political career. Essentially, his plan would require the withdrawal of all Russian forces from eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian voters would decide in a referendum whether Crimea, the Ukrainian territory seized by Russia in 2014, would be leased to Russia for a term of 50 or 100 years.
Andriy Artemenko, a Ukrainian lawmaker whose plan to resolve the three-year-old conflict in Ukraine reportedly wound up on the desk of then-U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn, has been stripped of his citizenship by presidential decree, the State Migration Service says.
The migration service said in a statement on May 5 that President Petro Poroshenko had terminated Artemenko’s Ukrainian citizenship over the lawmaker’s voluntary acceptance of foreign citizenship.
Artemenko had previously acknowledged that he holds Canadian citizenship.
The news caused a scandal in Kyiv, and Artemenko was ejected from the Radical Party as a result. Ukrainian investigators later opened a treason case over his actions.