WASHINGTON, September 25 (RIA Novosti) - The ongoing power struggle between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the nationalist Right Sector party means that there will be no credible Ukrainian position on the issue of decentralization, despite claims in Poroshenko's Thursday speech, said Gilbert Doctorow, a Russia scholar and founder of the European office of the Committee on East West Accord.
"The still unfinished fight for power between Petroshenko's supporters and the Pravy Sektor [Right Sector] together with other marginally fascist residual Maidan factions, means there can as yet be no clear and credible Ukrainian position on decentralization," Doctorow told RIA Novosti.
"This big question... is what decentralization will mean in actuality," the pundit added.
In a speech in Kiev on Thursday, Poroshenko stated that a "process of general decentralization is underway and it will start across the country." He continued that there will be no law on the special status of the Donbas region," which goes against the September 5 agreements in Minsk, which outlined a law on special status for Donetsk and Luhansk.
Doctorow concluded that not much can be derived from the statements in Poroshenko's speech because he is "a chameleon who changes his color" depending on his hosts, be it in Kiev, Washington, or Brussels.
"Peace in Ukraine has been decided on the ground," said Doctorow of the overall future of the country which he further described as "grim." However, he stated that when the Ukrainian army was defeated "we got a truce, which likely will last a good long time."
The possibility of increased autonomy for the eastern provinces was opposed by Right Sector leader, Dmitry Yarosh. Calling the autonomy vote in the Ukrainian parliament on September 18, "anti-national" Yarosh also threatened Poroshenko with the fate of his predecessor, Victor Yanukovych, who was ousted from the presidency by a coup in February.
On September 5, Kiev officials and representatives of the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics signed a 12-point peace plan during the Trilateral Contact Group meeting in Minsk, which stated that local elections were to take place in the regions on December 7 and also guaranteed the right to use Russian or any other language in Ukraine.
The status of Ukraine’s eastern regions remains a matter of debate. Kiev says it is ready to offer special status only to areas controlled by independence supporters, while Donetsk and Luhansk authorities claim they want full independence and will not agree to any status that sees them as a part of Ukraine.
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