(Edit - Feb 22nd: seeing the events of the last 12 hours I feel kind of dirty for asking this question, which I did before reading about Russia's recognition - though I was aware the Duma had helpfully "suggested" this to Putin last week.)

Russia seems to be looking at the de jure Ukrainian provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk to claim atrocities against ethnic Russians there to "do something" in Ukraine.

The 2 territories have been de facto out of Ukrainian control since 2014 and border areas have seen occasional clashes, with 14,000 deaths to date.

Out of the 5M residents, 750k have been granted Russian passports by Russia.

The Minsk II accords have a federalization component that would give those 2 territories a big say on overall Ukrainian foreign policy. Given that Russia is suspected of pulling their strings that could mean putting Russia in charge. In addition, Ukraine is expected to pay salaries and pensions to an area it doesn't control.

I understand such an, unilateral, move has the following drawbacks:

  • "rewarding" Russia for aggression
  • losing national territory. This is unlikely to be popular.
  • no guarantee that Putin won't find another pretext. Among other things the separatists may have additional claims.
  • abandoning loyal Ukrainians in place (but they could always be taken in)
  • outside of an agreement, Ukraine loses a bargaining chip (then again, are Russian agreements worth pursuing, for Ukraine?)

In 2014, I believe, there were massive riots when the Ukrainian government wanted to implement federal decentralization to the 2 territories. 4 policemen died.

This would be different, not granting them special rights or special powers over Ukraine at large. Just booting them out. Reintegrated into Ukraine, who would believe those 2 territories would be loyal to the central government rather than Moscow?

Have any Ukraine politicians or parties proposed this?

p.s. In the developing (as of Feb 24th) full-on invasion, Ukrainian troops concentrated at the Luhansk/Donetsk frontline seem to be a particular risk of being cut off by a pincer move around them, as is reported in a number of places.

The larger attack will seek to encircle Ukrainian forces near Donbas. Russian-led units there may serve as a pinning force, while the main Russian grouping would advance from the north-east by Kharkiv and from Crimea in the south. In this scenario, Moscow would try to prevent Ukrainian forces from being able to conduct an organised retreat to more defensible terrain west of the Dnieper river.

  • 14
    This is not as crazy as it sounds. After all, Malaysia did eject Singapore in modern history.
    – alamar
    Feb 21, 2022 at 17:12
  • I added a few details as someone who's not super familiar with the geopolitics of the Russia-Ukraine border region. Feb 21, 2022 at 18:01
  • 4
    You must not forget that Putin will demand the whole Luhansk and Donetsk districts (2014 borders). Including regions where people fled from the Russian controlled areas. Feb 21, 2022 at 19:42

3 Answers 3


This obviously won't happen because it's tantamount to proposing a violation of the Ukrainian constitution.

Article 2 of the Ukrainian constitution:

The sovereignty of Ukraine extends throughout its entire territory.

Ukraine is a unitary state.

The territory of Ukraine within its present border is indivisible and inviolable.

Article 73 of the Ukrainian constitution:

Issues of altering the territory of Ukraine are resolved exclusively by an All-Ukrainian referendum.

Now you could have a politician call for an All-Ukrainian referendum on ejecting Luhansk and Donetsk, but to call for ejecting Luhansk and Donetsk unilaterally? Said politician would likely end up in court for treason first.

  • 2
    ukrainian constitution is already violated article 106 part 19: The President of Ukraine forwards the submission to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the declaration of a state of war in the event of armed aggression against Ukraine article 85 part 9: The authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine comprises declaring war upon the submission of the President of Ukraine in the event of armed aggression against Ukraine Jul 17, 2022 at 6:51

The most closest could be this:

Ukrainian MP urged to give Donetsk and Lugansk to Putin for a while

Kyiv, February 04 (PolitNavigator, Maxim Karpenko) - Ukraine has a minimum chance of keeping the Donbass in its composition, and now it faces a choice: "a civilized divorce or war for years." This was announced on his page on the social network by the people's deputy, who is called the "master of Transcarpathia", oligarch Viktor Baloga.

According to him, the continuation of the war in the Donbass will finish off the country's economy. Therefore, the only solution to overcome the crisis is diplomacy and a referendum on the status of Donbass.

“If the people are ready for this, then we are at war. If not, we decide in a referendum, the occupied territories are not part of Ukraine, Putin will not give them back to us as damaged goods. But strategically, we can preserve the state, strengthen the economy, build up forces and carry out reforms. Time will pass, I am sure, and Crimea will change its attitude towards Ukraine, and Donbass will sober up and ask to come back to us. You won't have to wait long. But, it will be another story, another people, other people. Another Ukraine is a strong, powerful, developed state, which we still have a chance to build,” Baloga assures.

On the eve of Baloga, he stated that the fighters from his native Transcarpathia, drafted into the Ukrainian army, are under the threat of encirclement in the Donbass. According to Baloga, if official Kyiv does not take measures to save the soldiers, this will cause unrest among relatives in Transcarpathia.


Occasionally I like to joke that the US should cede Arizona to Mexico and build a border wall to keep the crazies from crossing back into the country. But no... The modern state is defined by the territory it controls, not the people who live there. Giving up territory is antithetical to the very notion of a state; it would be far more likely that a state would expel problematic citizens than give up a portion of itself.

I mean, if a big bully walked up and demanded that we give him an eye, or some teeth, or a kidney, or else, how many of us would be inclined to say: "Sure, here, take 'em!" These things are matters of bodily integrity and personal identity. We don't give them away lightly, and neither would a state.

Keep in mind as well that the people in a region are only one concern. Territory means natural resources, which means agriculture, industry, water supplies, end economic development. Territory means strategic positions that buffer against external aggression. No state is going to give those things up without a fight, regardless of the inclinations of the citizens who live there.

  • 16
    You are arguing that this might not be a good approach, but you forgot to answer the actual question: "Have any politicians in Ukraine considered this?"
    – Philipp
    Feb 21, 2022 at 17:10
  • 1
    @Philipp: That's a problem with the question, not my answer. No politician would suggest this except s a gambit to gain or increase their political power, and none of those would follow through if they achieved that gain. it's a game of Russian roullete (pun intended); people might want to be seen pulling the trigger, but none of them want the result. Feb 21, 2022 at 17:36
  • @Philipp Both answers give reasons why politicians in Ukraine wouldn't consider it. Is there a better way to prove such a question in the negative? I mean, you could post a Google search result screen showing no answers, but that doesn't seem very illuminating. May 12, 2022 at 1:44

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