Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
19th May, 2016
To win the war, Ukraine should use the experience of Croatia, which after emerging from years of bloody conflict, returned to their “occupied” territory. Warring Croatia did not stutter about “special status”. On the contrary, it was all legislated: the aggressor, the occupation, the war.
According to officials, the Croats sent officials to their “Minsk talks” , and not men “with unclear legal status, and the President of Croatia “was not offshore.”
“If we defend our territories in the East and in Crimea the military-diplomatic way – the process of further disintegration of Ukraine is inevitable. If you do not start a serious process of consolidation of Ukrainian society around the idea of building a real European state, we have no future. In this sense Ukraine is most suited to the experience of Croatia,” said Marikiyan Lubkivsky.
The associate Nalyvaichenko agreed, saying that he insists not on scripts but on experience and example.
“Croatia went through a similar path. From 1991 to 1995 there was a liberation war, which ended only in 1998 with the peaceful reintegration of the occupied territories of Eastern Slavonia, and the restoration of control and territorial integrity of the state. Croatia, like Ukraine, became a victim of aggression, having no army, nor, indeed, statehood. The Yugoslav regime tried to retain control over the entire country. Slovenia seceded relatively bloodless, the bloodiest battles were in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the breakup of Yugoslavia, these two countries suffered the greatest losses: human, economic, and psychological. However, the Republic of Croatia was back under the control of the occupied territory in four years. It was returned using military-diplomatic means,” he continues.
According to Lubkivsky, in Croatia too “there were long negotiations with the participation of Western partners, who had their own Minsk agreement, more precisely – the “Zagreb-4” plan, which envisaged broad autonomy including the right of self-determination for the separatist “Republic of Serbian Krajina”.
However, the associate Nalyvaychenko continued, in parallel with the peace negotiations, the Croatian government developed a military scenario for the restoration of its territorial integrity.
According to the former official of the SBU, “No one even hinted about the “special status” of the occupied territories to the warring parties in Croatia. On the contrary, not only at the level of rhetoric was it codified, but also the law: it is the aggressor, an occupation, a war.”
“One Croatian General told me: “We won only due to the absolute unity of the army, the government, and the people”. We all had one goal – to liberate our own territory, to save the state. The General added: “…only here our first President Franjo Tudjman did not have offshore accounts and there was a political will.” Today the whole of Europe has vacation in Croatia, because, for example, the Adriatic sea can be reached in four hours from Vienna in a small car,” he says.
In this case, Lubkivsky has very clear parallels with the current Ukraine, directly alluding to the leaders of the Nazi armed forces that they should not hesitate in committing crimes — the West will write off everything.
“As soon as it became clear that “Zagreb-4” was impossible to implement, the Croatian authorities took a strategic decision to return the occupied territories with the military. There were two successful military raids – “Storm” and “Lightning”, Croatia regained sovereignty and control over its territory. A part of the fighters were destroyed and a part ran away when they realized that they had no chance to withstand the pressure of the Croatian army. At that time, Western partners accused the Croats of the use of force and the violation of human rights, but the international Tribunal in the Hague acquitted the senior military leadership of the country,” — said Markiyan Lubkivsky.