Ukraine rebels de­clare new ‘state of Malorossiya’

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Kiev, Ukraine - Rus­sian-backed rebels fight­ing against Kiev an­nounced on Tues­day a plan to cre­ate a new ‘state’ they said would take the place of Ukraine and have its cap­i­tal in their ter­ri­tory.

Ukraine’s pro-Western au­thor­i­ties im­me­di­ately ridiculed the idea as a Krem­lin project that they would never al­low to get off the ground.

The sep­a­ratists said the pro­posed coun­try would be founded af­ter a ref­er­en­dum and called Malorossiya, a tsarist-era name mean­ing ‘Lit­tle Rus­sia’ that once de­scribed most of the area cov­er­ing modern-day Ukraine.

A con­sti­tu­tion pre­sented by rebel leader Alexan­der Zakharchenko said his self-de­clared Donetsk Peo­ple’s Repub­lic, neigh­bour­ing rebel-held Lu­gansk and other re­gions had agreed to ‘de­clare the es­tab­lish­ment of a new state, which is the suc­ces­sor of Ukraine’.

The doc­u­ment - re­leased by the sep­a­ratists’ news agency - said rebel bas­tion Donetsk would be­come the cap­i­tal, while Kiev would be re­duced to the sta­tus of a ‘his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural cen­tre’.

Ukraine’s For­eign Min­is­ter Pavlo Klimkin quickly de­rided the plan on Twit­ter as an­other ‘show’ by the in­sur­gents’ ‘Krem­lin pup­pet mas­ters’.

“We and our part­ners will not let this hap­pen,” he vowed.

The pro­posal seems to stand

no chance of gain­ing trac­tion and even the in­sur­gents ap­peared un­able to agree on it.

The press ser­vice for Lu­gansk rebel chief Igor Plot­nit­sky said he had not been con­sulted on the project.

The sur­prise an­nounce­ment of Malorossiya could, how­ever, fur­ther dent an al­ready stalled peace process that has failed to end more than three years of fight­ing that has claimed the lives of some 10,000 peo­ple.

This file photo shows a bill­board fea­tur­ing the leader of the self-pro­claimed Donetsk Peo­ple’s Repub­lic (DNR) Alexan­der Zakharchenko (cen­tre) in Donetsk on March 18, 2015. The Rus­sian text on the bill­board reads: ‘We are grate­ful to the de­fend­ers of the fa­ther­land’

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