The recent terrorist attack on the territory of the occupied Crimea still raises a lot of questions, clarifications, and disputes. The focus of the network is the behavior of Ukrainian authorities and the question of mourning. Opinion found out how Ukraine should react to such events, whether the Kremlin can turn the situation against us, and whether there is a real need to declare national mourning.
How should Ukraine react to the events in Kerch?
Political scientist and publicist Stanislav Fedorchuk explained to Opinion, that in such situations we should continue to emphasize that Russia, as an aggressor and occupier, should bear full responsibility for the victims, as well as guarantee a transparent investigation of the terrorist attack. At the same time, Ukraine should involve the third countries to put pressure on the aggressor.
“Anyway, we must respond to similar terrorist acts in the way, that Crimea remains an occupied Ukrainian territory. And we must say that Russia, as an aggressor country and a country that occupied the Crimean peninsula, should be fully responsible for the investigation of this terrorist attack. It should be responsible for every person who died or suffered. We should also demand from Russians the transparent investigation. As well we should monitor that as a result of this investigation, no political made-up persecution will be carried out. In addition, the attention of the third countries – the European Union and the United States should be paid to ensure, that the investigation of this terrorist act is conducted in a transparent manner and that all parties know who is suspected, on what basis, what are the shreds of evidence, etc.,” noted Fedorchuk
Yevhen Mahda, an executive director of the Institute of World Policy, believes that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine should call for an international investigation. The expert also doesn’t rule out the possibility, that Moscow will continue to search for the “Ukrainian link”.
“In my opinion, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry should have called for an international investigation for the tragedy in Kerch. The country’s leadership expressed its condolences to the families of the bereaved and the victims. Russia tried to find the Ukrainian link in the crime, but it was useless. I think these attempts will continue in Russian information space,” commented Yevhen Mahda.
Yevhen Leshan, a journalist, and former politician supported the idea of the need to appeal to the international community.
“Ukraine should make an official statement to the international community in which we should focus on the killing of Ukrainian citizens on Ukrainian territory and the fact that Ukraine was not able to guarantee their security because of the occupation”, the ex-deputy noted.
Leshan also stressed, that Ukraine still shouldn’t unanimously blame Russian authorities, as well as anyone else, in organizing the tragedy. However, according to the speaker, in any case, RF will carry the responsibility.
“It is now very important not to sink to cheap conspiracy a la “all the explosions are made by FSB “. Undoubtedly, state paranoia, search for enemies and militaristic propaganda in Russia have contributed to the fact, that such an event as a school shooting has become more likely. But what is known at the moment – a single student with a shotgun and explosives on purpose copied a shot in Columbine, the United States – does not give us grounds to blame the occupation Russian authorities and, in general, no one, in the direct organization of this tragedy. Although general responsibility for everything that is happening in the occupied territory is, of course, borne by Russia,” said Yevhen Leshan.
Ihor Mosiychuk, a people’s deputy, is convinced that international organizations should be involved in the investigation, however, Ukrainian law-enforcers should be also allowed to work. The people’s deputy also stressed, that there were no acts of terror before the annexation on the territory of the Crimea.
“Any terrorist act in the territory of the occupied Crimea concerns Ukrainian citizens. Therefore, above all, my condolences to the families of the deceased and wounded. With no questions asked. Second, the investigation should be conducted by an international organization. We have already seen the desire of some of the Kremlin’s propaganda outlet to remake the situation. Now the dust started to settle down, but we still have to demand that Ukrainian law enforcement bodies be a part of the investigation. Still, we are talking about the death of Ukrainian citizens as well. Thirdly, there is no doubt that as long as there was no occupier on Ukrainian soil, there were no acts of terrorism in the Donbas and Crimea. None “, Ihor Mosiychuk assured Opinion.
MP Ihor Lutsenko, in his turn, believes that we do not have adequate methods to investigate the terrorist attack, but we still need to react. So law enforcers should register criminal proceedings and act in accordance with the procedures. In this way, Ukraine will demonstrate that it continues to exercise legal control over the annexed peninsula.
“It is right, that the president reacted. Indeed, such incidents require a reaction of Ukraine at the highest level, in particular, showing the contrast between what was before the annexation of the Crimea and what is happening after it. It is clear that we do not have any adequate means to investigate this situation, so the response of law enforcement bodies should be standard. This is to register criminal proceedings, collect available information, and then wait. But formally, of course, Ukraine must respond to law enforcement agencies, showing that it is its legal territory, that it continues to exercise the legal control that is available to it,” was said in the comment for Opinion.
Instead, the military expert and retired Colonel of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Sviatoslav Stetsenko believes that Ukraine won’t be able to influence the situation in the Crimea since it has no opportunity to investigate. Moreover, according to a specialist, there is no reason to say exactly about the act of terrorism.
“Now Ukraine is not able to influence the situation in Crimea, in particular, with this mass murder. We do not have the possibilities for the investigation. Now there is no reason to consider this a terrorist act because there were no threats, no statements, no conditions for power. Those images of suspected assassin, who took his own life, that are online are not consistent with the message of their investigation. Of course, Moscow can blame Ukraine in any problem, but it does not matter at the moment,” Stetsenko considers.
Can Russia try to turn the situation against Ukraine?
Political expert Olexiy Minakov assured Opinion, that Russia will try to use the terrorist attack in Kerch in such a way as to adjust the Crimeans against Ukraine. Actually, this is already confirmed by the assassin’s investigation on the fact of involvement in the “Right sector.”
“Moscow will definitely use this incident, cynically, with blood propaganda to turn Crimeans against Ukraine. The “Ukrainian link” must be “drawn”. They are already checking the guilty assassinator for the involvement in the “Right Sector”. The information that directly will blame Ukraine or hint at Ukraine’s fault will be thrown to the Kremlin mass media. The Kremlin has always acted that way and there are no reasons for it to change its behavior “, explained the political expert.
Yevhen Leshan is also certain, that the Kremlin will try to use this case in its favor.
“In its turn, Moscow was unable to find grounds for officially accusing Ukraine or the Crimean Tatars of what happened – the picture of the crime and the offender’s identity became obvious too quick. However, in the short period of time, when it was not clear what was happening, Russian officials and media made a few trial false stories about the “Ukrainian link” and that the person, who shot “looked like a Tatar”. Although the official version has refuted that fact, in the mass consciousness, as they say, “it’s still a little tense “, as it’s meant to be. However, now the identity of the shooter is checked for involvement in the “right sector”, whatever these words mean – this is also an element of anti-Ukrainian propaganda when a mere assumption acts as a statement. Of course, Russia uses this case for even harder tightening the screws and restrictions on freedoms. Although in today’s Russian media there were doubts about the effectiveness of the policy of bans. Let’s hope, that those miserable remnants of civil society, which are somehow still a miracle somewhere in Russia, will try to convey the idea that not everything can be solved with a big stick and a whip”, is said in the commentary.
According to Stanislav Fedorchuk, events in Kerch may be returned not only against Ukraine but also against Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, who remained on the annexed peninsula, because it is not so difficult to fabricate a case against anyone.
“Russia can return the situation not only against Ukraine. First of all, against Ukrainians who are living in the Crimea, and against the Crimean Tatars. Frankly speaking, for the Russian intelligence agencies Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians of Crimea have been the targets of persecution, kidnapping, and torture. And the regime that exists there at the moment is quite tough. For them there is no problem to fabricate a criminal case, to find scapegoats,” the political scientist considers.
But journalist, blogger, and media expert Viktor Leshyk supposed, that the Russian authorities would not try to turn the situation against Ukraine since they had already missed a more powerful cause – the assassination of the militant Zakharchenko.
“Russia will not use the case in Kerch against Ukraine. The assassination of Zakharchenko was a more powerful reason after the respective filing, and as we see, the Kremlin has eased the grip on everything”, says Viktor Leshyk.
The mourning in Ukraine: is it worth announcing?
People’s deputy Ihor Mosiichuk, answering this question, said that the announcement of mourning is unlikely to change anything in the country, since Ukraine, without taking into account the tragedy in Kerch, loses people on the front every day.
“We lose people on the front every day. Our country lives in constant mourning. From announcing or not announcing official mourning for the victims of a terrorist attack in Kerch, there will be no peace in the country; terrorism will not stop in the country. Peace and order in Ukrainian streets can only come when we have a strong government that will defend national interests that will make our country strong. When our country will be able to free the occupied territories. When we will stop listening to people from abroad (it is not important, from the East or the West), but we will be guided by national interests. Then the attacks and killings of Ukrainians will cease,” said the people’s deputy.
Ihor Lutsenko, people’s deputy, in his turn told, that the mourning had to be announced even at the beginning of the annexation of the Crimea because today we are discussing only a separate picture of everything that is happening on the peninsula.
“The mourning was supposed to be announced when the Crimea was annexed, to speak so “by gross”. And this is just a separate picture of what is happening in the annexed Crimea. Along with the huge violations of human rights, along with repressions against all the dissenters in the Crimea together with various kinds of disappearances of people that happened during a particularly hot period. Therefore, one can already say, that mourning should have been announced after all these cases,” said the people’s deputy.
Viktor Leshyk also did not support the idea of announcing mourning, as it may discredit some of the previous actions made by the Ukrainian side.
“Official Ukraine has already expressed condolence with the words of Poroshenko to the families of the dead in Kerch. And that’s enough. Deliberations on the subject “there are our citizens” on the background of turning off the e-energy and the Dnieper water, looks somehow illogical”.
But Ihor Kotelianets, the head of the “The Association of Relatives of the Political Prisoners of the Kremlin” public organization and the brother of Yevhen Panov, the guilty party of the so-called “Crimean saboteurs”, believes that the proclamation by the state of mourning could help to unite Ukrainians in the mainland and annexed territories, as well as to bring the international reaction and responsibility to the Russian Federation for a lack of security of our citizens.
“Crimea is Ukraine. In our country, there was a terrorist attack. It would be logical and correct if our citizens were united in sorrow for the killed civilians, students, and teachers. And the state has declared mourning. Moreover, if the fact of committing a terrorist attack on the territory controlled by the invader would be a reason for another international lawsuit against Russia, regarding the lack of security for our citizens. In any case, it’s the citizens of Ukraine who have been forced to accept the “rules of the game” by the invader and today they die under the pressure of the regime of the aggressor. If we really want to return the Crimea, we must be wiser and help the Crimeans.”
Yevhen Leshan supported the idea of mourning, adding that in spite of possible irritation in Ukraine, this moment is fundamental since peaceful Ukrainian citizens were killed with the Russian weapon system.
“Of course, an event of such magnitude deserves the announcement of mourning. It may cause an irritation in the country where soldiers are killed at the front almost every day. However, the moment here is fundamental: the civilian citizens of Ukraine were killed by weapons issued by the Russian permit system. I would like to see the principles of official Kyiv not only in the question of a local Orthodox church”, the expert explained.
By Dmytro Zhuravel