Washington puzzled Kiev: it’s time for piece with the Donbass

US urged Ukraine to comply with the Minsk Agreement.

After the parliamentary elections, the new Verkhovna Rada should adopt a number of laws stipulated by the Minsk agreements. This was stated by the special representative of the US State Department for Ukraine Kurt Volker.


  • When a new parliament is elected, it will be necessary to update some laws on the implementation of the Minsk agreements, – Volker notes.

– For example, the proposed decentralization within the framework of the Constitution, the issue of special status and amnesty and the possibility of holding local elections when the security situation permits. All these things will have to be restored, and, of course, we support Ukraine in this. However, it is the Ukrainian side that should lead this process.


It is noteworthy that in May, Volker argued differently. Then the US envoy actually allowed Kiev not to fulfill its obligations: “Unfortunately, the problem with the implementation of the Minsk agreements lies in the continuing Russian occupation of eastern Ukraine and the fighting continuing there. Therefore, Ukraine cannot go further in the implementation of the Minsk agreements than it has already done.”


Now it turns out that Ukraine not only can “go further”, but also “must lead this process.” Representatives of the Russian Federation have been saying this for years. European politicians also emphasize the importance of Kiev’s implementation of the Minsk Agreements. Here, apparently, Moscow, Berlin and Paris have already reached an understanding. In unison with them, the voice of the US special envoy suddenly sounded, who had previously held an extremely tough and uncompromising anti-Russian stance.


  • Volker hesitates with Trump’s general line of the party, – believes Ukrainian political commentator Ruslan Bizyaev.

– After the G-20 summit, it became clear that the conflict in the East for the Trump administration for at least six months recedes into the background. But to Volker, I would not believe. He is also a “peacemaker.” Extinguishes a fire with high-octane aviation gasoline. So we are waiting for the election results and the formation of a coalition.


– Previously, Volcker had a clear position: Ukraine did everything it needs, Minsk-2 is being torn down by Russia. That is, the Trump administration still hesitated towards resolving the conflict in the Donbass?


– It just isn’t up to it now. They will neither bring peace nor provoke a war so far. From here come the waggings of Volker.


– And can this be taken as a signal to the fact that Trump is ready to trade in Ukraine? Help us with North Korea, for example, and we will not sabotage the implementation of the Minsk agreements?


– Not. He thinks in a slightly different category. After Theresa May’s resignation and the temporary truce with the People’s Republic of China to Trump, it’s all the same whether the rapprochement between Russia and the EU will continue or not. Plus you need to win the campaign of 2020.


– It turns out, if the Americans do not care (at least until the elections of 2020), now is the right time to implement the Minsk agreements? The EU and the Russian Federation seem to have checked the clock, now everything will really depend on the new convocation of the Verkhovna Rada?


  • This window of opportunity is about a year long. But about the “checked hours” I would not be so categorical. Any situational alliance is a highly unstable design.


  • First of all, I wouldn’t recommend overestimating Kurt Volcker’s figure, – said Sergei Belashko, a Ukrainian political analyst and director of the Social Communications Agency.

– This is not a politician, but an employee of a lobbying firm who was appointed to a position close to public service. A US citizen who, on a voluntary basis, performs a certain assignment of his state.


– But Volker is still a very prominent figure. And he understands that his statements are receiving attention. Why, then, he decided to make such a sharp turn?


– I do not see any sharp reversal, because with Poroshenko on a number of issues not only formal, but also informal agreements were reached. Western partners were very tired of these agreements, since the Ukrainian side either did not fulfill them or performed them on the background of burdensome informational support.


The election of a new president of Ukraine in the West was used as a reason to adjust his position on the basis of his own interests. Some irrelevant questions were disavowed. At the same time, Kiev is reminded that there are formal agreements: let’s stick to them. Volker’s words are a clear example of how accents shift toward the letter of the law.


Will the new parliament be able to do what Volker is talking about? To carry out a constitutional reform, to implement the so-called political part of “Minsk — 2”?


  • Again, some laws were passed under Poroshenko. The leaders of the factions were invited to the American embassy, ​​the party’s policy was explained to them in a popular way. And all those who shouted that they shouldn’t do half a step towards the “Putin invaders” returned to the parliament and voted as it should be. It will be the same now.


– But after all, the same law “On the Special Status of Donbass” has no law enforcement practice. Every year it is extended just for show, and even then it is not easy to get votes. Will parliamentarians support initiatives that will actually provoke global changes in Ukrainian politics?


– There will be no global change. Global change is to go out and declare that there is no war with Russia, but there is a war with Donbass. Even taking into account the fact that Russia supports one of the parties informationally, financially, politically, etc. But the Donbass itself is waging the war, local residents are fighting, the forty-thousand-strong army is supplied from local resources.


– New opportunities in the context of “Minsk-2” after the parliamentary elections still open?


– New opportunities will be not only in the context of “Minsk-2”. The only question is whether the parliament will be renewed not in persons, but ideologically. How many of the parties represented now remain in the Verkhovna Rada? If one is “Batkivshchyna”, then this is one story, if “Opposition bloc” and “European solidarity”, then this is another story.


How many people will the “Servant of the people” have? If Zelensky’s party can independently form a majority, then at first it will be very easy for them to manage from one center. Therefore, during this year many different laws can be passed, including those relating to Donbass. The likelihood of quick adoption of laws is reduced if you need to work on a coalition agreement.


Although I do not see any ideological differences between the “Servant of the people” and “The Voice” (musician Svyatoslav Vakarchuk’s party). They work for a slightly different electoral audience, so they make tougher anti-Russian statements. But in the parliament, the people of Pinchuk will be the same in the Voice faction, that in the Servant of the People faction.


  • Even for the laws related to the Minsk Agreement and the reintegration of Donbass?


– There is nothing seditious in these laws. They did not vote for them, not because they loosened the clamps, undermine the foundations, etc. They did not vote for political reasons. Poroshenko made a bet on the other, he acted as president of the war, commander in chief, commander, fighter with Russia. This strategy was losing.


Zelensky is building a different strategy. He is trying to wedge between antagonists. On the one hand, he needs to pick up the center itself, on the other hand, pick Poroshenko’s and Medvedchuk’s electorate, demonstrating that he will do the same, only faster and more efficiently. And Putin will win, and agree with the Donbass.


But in fact, it turns out that Zelensky is not able to win anyone and agree with anyone. He can only deceive the voter and gain an advantage for some short distance. Actually, the last few months he has been successfully engaged in this. But then you have to collect stones, and Zelensky’s rating will drop to 8%, with which he approached the presidential campaign. These are his personal supporters, fans of the “Evening quarter” countrymen. Yes, these people do not care much. But not 30%, not 40%, and certainly not 73% (which Zelensky received in the second round of the presidential election).


If we talk about the situation in the Donbass, Zelensky does not fully control it. Somewhere sabotage continues, and sometimes it is done openly, against the president. He needs to clean up the security forces. A truce means a truce, the withdrawal of troops means a withdrawal of troops. And not in such a way that every major can wage war according to his own understanding and say: – Let’s make a night of separs, ayack them with the “Grads” or something else on them. Now there is such a situation. And the question is at what level it is coordinated. Roughly speaking, are we talking about amateur major or major general?


  • Not to mention the fact that the volunteer battalions, which formally joined the structure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, still retained their internal organization. In some situations, they may decide that their “leader” is not Zelensky, but some Yarosh or Biletsky.

– You know, in one of these units, the fighters are just more disciplined than the 50-year-old men, who, because of their loss in life, went to war. Nowhere, except for the combat zone, they are not needed.

You just pay attention to the people who stand on the front lines. These are people over the age of 40, often over the age of 50. On the one hand, they underwent socialization during the Soviet era and were well aware of the propaganda stamps about the defense of the Motherland. On the other hand, they are chronic losers. They have some kind of social status in the war, but not in peacetime. I know from my own experience that these are often people with broken families who have not seen their own children for years. War gives them the illusion of self-realization. All this concerns the Minsk Agreements and complicates the fulfillment of election promises made by Zelensky.