September 2, 2015


Heat warning in effect

Editorials

History haunts Ukraine

The promise of a truce in Ukraine is shaky and imperfect, but protesters should embrace it in an effort to prevent further bloodshed.

President Viktor Yanukovych says he will establish a new caretaker government, followed by a presidential election in December. The deal leaves him in power for now, but he should resign immediately. The president has too much blood on his hands to carry on, or play any role in an interim government.

Winnipeg Free Press Ukraine

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg Free Press Ukraine Photo Store

The new government, if indeed there is a new one, should immediately lift prosecutions on political opponents, restore press freedoms and issue a general amnesty. A regime that persecutes its critics and tramples on basic rights will not earn the trust of the people and certainly not of the protesters.

The accord was immediately in peril, however, after Russia refused to endorse it, while protesters said they would not go home until the slippery Mr. Yanukovych resigned.

Ukraine should ignore threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who views his neighbour as a vassal state that belongs in his own Eurasian Union, both for economic and strategic reasons. Mr. Putin also shuns the liberal-democratic principles a large part of the country wishes to embrace. It will take considerable courage to resist Russia's malevolent influence, since Ukraine depends on Russia for its oil and gas, as well as financial support.

The European Union, the United States and Canada must counter this pressure with their own offers of support, much the way they did when Ukraine received its independence in 1991, but with more economic heft. That won't be easy as long as Mr. Putin is determined to revive a Russian empire, but the alternative could be prolonged civil strife.

The sooner Mr. Yanukovych resigns, the easier it will be to create the conditions that will allow Ukrainians to decide democratically their own future. The fact is Ukraine has historical links to both Europe and Russia. It should not have to choose between an alliance with one or the other, but be free to pursue its interests in both spheres.

Again, the only obstacle to such a path is the Russian president, whose attempts to mould Ukraine into an authoritarian regime could end up destroying the country.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 22, 2014 A16

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board composed of Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board composed of Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Scroll down to load more

Top