Ukrainian Deputy Minister for temporarily occupied territories and internally displaced persons George Tuka has said one of the main tasks of Russia after the so-called "local elections" in the self-proclaimed republics in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, is to bring "nerds" to power who will try to integrate the occupied areas into Ukraine.
Speaking in an interview to the Obozrevatel media outlet, he said those pro-Russian forces in Ukraine who had been lobbying for the so-called direct negotiations had become more active in the past seven-eight months.
"This is Putin's scenario, which Russia has persistently offered since 2014. Those who advocate for this include the team of [Viktor] Medvedchuk in different guises, the so-called Opposition Bloc team, various fake NGOs – these are pro-Kremlin forces. They are now trying to politically force Ukraine into [agreeing] to such a scenario. Pro-Russian lobbyists in Europe will act in the same vein," Tuka said.
The politician also gave an example of Moldova's unsuccessful attempts to resolve the conflict in Transnistria.
"The danger of that scenario is that we have seen the negative example of Moldova and Transnistria when Chisinau succumbed to Russia's persuasion and began direct negotiations with Tiraspol. The next day, Russia took a step aside, the general structure changed and the Russian Federation turned from a party to the conflict into an observer, an international mediator, after all, a peacemaker. In this case, there were no sanctions against Russia for unleashing a war in Moldova. On the other hand, everyone is aware that the Tiraspol authorities do not take a single step without coordination with the Kremlin," Tuka said.
Russia is now working on a scenario to replace the "leaders" of the so-called "Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics" ("LPR/DPR") so that they can be integrated into Ukraine on Moscow's terms.
"Such characters as Plotnitsky, Zakharchenko, to put it mildly, are not very suitable for such a purpose and need to be replaced by those who are called 'nerds.' These may be intellectuals, businessmen, people far from war, dressed in suits and ties. They can be nominated as a party for negotiations. Therefore, the first two reshuffles have already taken place," Tuka said.