This Must Be the Kilimnik Peace Plan


The new Manafort filing refers to Manafort conceding that he had discussed a “peace plan” for Ukraine with Konstantin Kilimnik on “more than one occasion”. What peace plan? Felix Sater says it’s not the same one he and Michael Cohen met with that Ukrainian lawmaker about. But Josh Kovensky points out to me that it’s almost certainly this one, which was reported in January 2017 as Kilimnik’s plan.

This is from a February 23, 2017 by Radio Free Europe

The most recent of the new peace plans came from Ukrainian-Russian political operative Konstantin Kilimnik, the one-time assistant in Kyiv to U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

Calling his plan the Mariupol Plan after the southeastern Ukrainian city that is the largest in the Donetsk region controlled by the government and which sits smack against the front line — Kilimnik envisages it replacing the current Minsk agreements and Normandy format talks between Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France.

Despite his connection to Manafort, who lived in Ukraine and worked as an adviser to Yanukovych for years, Kilimnik emphasized that the American strategist has had no part in this plan, which he says remains fluid.

The plan, he said, was raised by “many people who are willing to start [a] dialogue” between eastern Ukraine and the rest of the country “and this should be one of the roles of the Opposition Bloc and other opposition parties, which understand the necessity of bringing Donbas back into Ukraine.” The Opposition Bloc is the revamped, pro-Moscow political faction once called the Party of Regions and led by Yanukovych.

Right now, there is no dialogue between Ukraine and the leaders of the separatist-held areas, Aleksandr Zakharchenko and Ihor Plotnitsky. Kyiv considers them “terrorists” and Kilimnik said they “have blood on their hands, [so] it will be very difficult for Poroshenko and others to negotiate with them.”

However, “in theory, a figure representing Donbas, such as Yanukovych or someone else who has at least not killed people and can stop the war and fix the local economy, might be an option,” Kilimnik explained.

Many Ukrainians, though, believe the former president’s hands are dripping with blood as they hold him responsible for the deaths of more than 100 protesters shot by riot police during the Euromaidan protests in Kyiv in 2014. Ukraine has charged Yanukovych with treason — an allegation he denies.

Peace in Ukraine “is up for Ukrainians to figure out, and the only way to proceed is a national consensus and dialogue,” Kilimnik said.

I’ve always thought the content of these ‘plans’ isn’t really the point. So whether it was the same one as the Cohen-Sater one isn’t really the point. They almost all involved some recognition of Russian gains on the ground in Ukraine and the removal of sanctions.

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