In a statement issued by the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his “deep condolences”to the relatives and the loved ones of the DPR leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko.
The Russian President called Zakharchenko “a real people’s leader” and “a brave man.”
He also said that this incident shows that “those, who chose the path of terror, violence and intimidation, do not want to seek a peaceful…solution…and engage in a real dialog with the people living in south-eastern [Ukraine].”
Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said that there is “every reason to believe” that Zakharchenko’s murder was orchestrated by Kiev, which “has repeatedly resorted to such methods to get rid of dissidents and undesirables.”
“Instead of abiding by the Minsk Agreements and seeking ways to resolve the internal [Ukrainian] conflict, the Kiev warmongers opted for a terrorist scenario, thus exacerbating an already tense situation in the region.”
The Ukrainian security service (SBU) has denied involvement in the killing of Zakharchenko.
The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst, from Moscow, Mark Sleboda discuss the stunning assassination of Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, who was killed in an explosion that took place in a cafe in Central Donetsk city.
The murder of Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, was “most plausibly” orchestrated by Kiev and it brings the Ukrainian government’s true plans to the light, experts told RT.
Moscow has accused the Ukrainian government of being behind the Friday bombing in Donetsk, which killed the DPR leader. Analysts believe his death indeed brings grist to the mill for the warmongers that are in power in Kiev.
“Zakharchenko’s murder benefits Ukrainian hardliners in the first place, [as they] are not interested in the Minsk process or any sort of peace settlement with the people of the Donbass region,” Aleksandar Pavic, a political analyst, said, commenting on the assassination. He believes the hardliners are “headed by the Ukrainian president [Petro] Poroshenko himself” and thus constitute the backbone of the current government.
Kiev has always considered the Ukrainian conflict a “zero sum game,” former US diplomat Jim Jatras told RT, adding that “anything that weakens the leadership of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics has to be considered a plus for Kiev.” He pointed out that this murder “fits into a pattern of earlier attacks” that Kiev launched against the self-proclaimed republics.
‘Kiev has never been interested in political settlement’
Zakharchenko’s murder clearly shows that the Kiev government has always regarded the situation in eastern Ukraine “as an issue to be settled by force,” John Laughland, British philosopher, historian and author told RT.
Kiev always referred to the forces of the self-proclaimed republics as “Russian and not Ukrainian fighters,” Laughland said. “If you believe that the people on your territory are invaders from a foreign state, which is what Ukraine is saying about the people of the Donbass, then that shows that you are not interested in a political settlement, you do not regard them as your own citizens,” he added.
Zakharchenko’s murder “must show to the whole world what some people may have known … for some time, which is that Ukraine is not interested in a political settlement,” Laughland said. He also said that Poroshenko stated just recently that he is “adamantly opposed”to the idea of Ukraine’s federalization, which effectively means that he is against any autonomy for the eastern Ukrainian regions and is not eager to fulfill the Minsk Agreements.
His words were echoed by Jatras, who said that “if anyone had any doubt that the Minsk process was absolutely dead, this should end all such doubts.” Pavic, meanwhile, said that the murder was apparently “intended to undermine the new impetus given to the Minsk process after the latest Putin-Merkel meeting.”
West ‘invested too much’ in Kiev
However, all these facts are unlikely to change the attitude towards the Ukrainian conflict in the West partly because western countries care more about their own vested interests than the truth, the analysts warned.
The European policymakers “have invested a lot of political capital into saying that Russia has invaded Ukraine in the Donbass,” Laughland said, adding that it is now the official position of the EU. Even if they understand what the real situation is, it will still “take a long time before they change their mind on that,” he warned.
Jatras believes that US and European officials might even pledge increased support to Ukraine, playing right into the hands of Kiev that wants to “ensure that there is no rapprochement between Washington and Moscow” and sees “anything that cranks up tensions further as beneficial.”
This incident benefits all “foreign actors interested in keeping Russo-Ukrainian tensions high, headed by the US deep state, the liberal-interventionist leadership of NATO” and even the UK, which has been waging a reckless anti-Russian campaign for quite some time by now, Pavic said.
The West will eventually attempt to pin the blame for Zakharchenko’s murder on some local actors or frame it as a result of some sort of internal power struggle, the analyst predicted. He went on to say that this incident could also “boost Poroshenko’s standing with the promoters of the hysterical anti-Russian campaign in the US, many of whom will be present at John McCain’s funeral, which Poroshenko is scheduled to attend.”
Mainstream media is, meanwhile, likely to downplay the whole issue or even simply ignore it, Laughland said, warning that this murder could have disastrous consequences for the situation in the region. “This assassination could potentially destroy every possibility of a political settlement and we will be back to the worst period of the Ukrainian conflict. It will destroy the political process,” he said.