Zelensky angers the West

Constant failures in the Donbass

Kiev is not particularly trying to fulfill the promises it makes to its owners. Will punishments follow?

In France, dissatisfaction is growing with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky because of a pause after the “Norman” summit in Paris in early December. About this on the air of the channel “112. Ukraine ”said the diplomat and deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Oleg Voloshin.


The deputy, who was part of the Ukrainian delegation at the Paris summit, is confident that France believes that the contribution of President Emmanuel Macron to the organization of the meeting was in vain.


– My key conclusion is this: in France they don’t understand why, after a quite successful summit held on the initiative of President Emmanuel Macron on December 9 in the Norman format, another pause hung, – he stressed.


Voloshin recalled that at the summit they signed a communiqué, agreed on the withdrawal of troops, but all this was put aside.


  • We see that there (in the Highest Rada — Parliament) is a sharp discussion on the market and on the land, on the new labor code, a lot of other bills are voted, adopted, but nothing is done in the context of the implementation of the political part of the Minsk agreements, – the parliamentarian noted.


Recall, the summit of the “Norman Four” with the participation of the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine was the first in three years and debut for both Macron and Zelensky. Prior to this meeting, no meetings have been held since 2016 due to the absence of any steps to resolve on the part of the then President of Ukraine Poroshenko, including the separation of forces and assets agreed at the previous summit at three points on the line of contact and exchange of prisoners. The implementation of these points by Vladimir Zelensky became the basis for a new meeting, during which the parties agreed to meet four months later in Berlin in order to continue work on resolving the situation in the Donbass. Prior to this, it is necessary to coordinate new separation points and conduct a new exchange of prisoners. In addition, the leaders called for a ceasefire in the Donbass by the end of the year. According to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadim Priestayko, this was “homework” for Ukraine.


As a result, the next exchange of prisoners took place on the eve of the New Year, no further steps have yet been taken; moreover, in the Donbass, they note the increased shelling of the cities of the DNR and LNR.


Of course, there is still time to implement the decisions of the summit, although it is not very clear what the “pause” in the implementation of the agreements means. This seems to be a natural state of the peace process. Of course, the fault of Ukraine.


– What, then, were expected in Paris?


– They were expecting a breakthrough, – said Vadim Trukhachev, assistant professor at the department of foreign regional studies and foreign policy of the Russian State Humanitarian University.


– It is needed to raise Macron’s status both in France and abroad. But the French clearly did not study the Ukrainian “color” very well. Macron has big problems with the yellow vests. Every now and then difficulties with immigrants make themselves felt. And he urgently needs success. He relied on foreign policy, because in Germany there is now a “transition period”, and Austrian Chancellor Kurtz only established himself in office. And Macron should rather act for self-affirmation.


– And Merkel? Does her dissatisfaction with Zelensky not ripen? How is it shown?


– Merkel’s everything the same, but she is already an outgoing politician. So now Macron’s voice is louder. And so – the Germans’ statements are quite similar to the French.


– Is it only in “Minsk” business? Maybe he will remember the conversation with Trump, or something else?


– It’s only in Minsk. Zelensky does not have that political weight so that a conversation with Trump could worsen his image in the eyes of Europe. In his conversation with Trump, there was nothing affecting Europe.


– Will Kiev complete its “homework” by the next meeting of the “Quartet” in the spring?


– In Ukraine, the government does not control the well-wishers to the extent that they complete their “homework”. Their mother is anarchy, not Europe. And dad is a glass of portveyn, like it was in the famous song. Not Zelensky. In France, it seems, they did not understand this.


– Should we expect that the discontent of the Europeans will lead to any steps against Ukraine?


– Any steps against Ukraine in the eyes of Europe will be steps towards Russia. And they really do not want this. Therefore, Ukraine will be forgiven for almost everything, except for absolutely frank genocide. Or at least no more than scolding. For Europeans, Russia is worse than Ukraine, therefore, grinding their teeth, they will continue to support Ukraine.


– French President Emmanuel Macron is very active in the foreign policy arena, – says Eduard Popov, director of the Center for Public and Information Cooperation “Europe”.


– He is a relative newcomer to big politics and in this they are similar to Zelensky. Macron’s foreign policy moves carry a fair share of self-PR. The French president obviously counted on a quick and tangible result from the meeting, which he himself initiated. This could not happen and now in the Champs Elysees they are pretty disappointed with the lack of progress in the negotiation process on the Donbass.


– Are they unhappy only in Paris? And how about Berlin? Why are they silent there?


  • Madame Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel, unlike Emmanuel Macron, is a much more experienced politician and has a good view of the situation in Ukraine. Therefore, in Berlin there is no disappointment in Kiev, because there were no illusions. The silence of Germany is very eloquent.


– Why is it so important for Macron? He was so eager to organize this summit. What does all this give him personally?


– I can’t say with full certainty that Macron was so set up for a revolutionary shift in the Donbass. In any case, the Champs Elysees is interested in demonstrating activity in the external arena. But, of course, activity without results costs a little. Paris under the new president is trying in every possible way to prove that France is one of the centers of not only European – world politics. The lack of economic power, which is concentrated in Germany, France Macron compensates for diplomatic activity and even arrogance.


– Voloshin emphasized that there is a sharp discussion in the Rada on the market and on the issue of land, on the new labor code, a lot of other bills are being voted, adopted, but nothing is done in the context of the implementation of the political part of the Minsk agreements. But isn’t Europe selling land, increasing the cost of gas for the population and other measures to colonize Ukraine more important than the implementation of the Minsk agreements? What do they do before Donbass?


– It depends on which Europe and the West. The United States, Germany and Israel, for example, are more interested in lifting a moratorium on the sale of agricultural land. They want to turn Ukraine into a second Romania. French business is poorly represented in Ukraine. Therefore, I repeat, Macron shows high political activity, which compensates for this weak (in comparison with Germany) economic interest.


How will the policy towards Ukraine and Donbass change with the departure of the presidential aide.

– Is it possible to expect changes in the situation by spring, when a new summit is planned? Will Ukraine complete its “homework”?


– The situation around Donbass can hypothetically turn into something sensational. And yet in the coming months there are hardly any drastic changes. It is unlikely that Zelensky will move the real negotiation process from the point at which it was fixed on December 9 last year. With great difficulty, he managed to convince the National Battalion fighters to play a game called “Breeding of forces at two or three checkpoints.” It is hardly in his power to convince them to do something more. Shelling of the territories of the DNR-LNR continues, although not with as much activity as in the worst months of the conflict. The economic and social blockade from the republics of Donbass has not been lifted. And, most importantly, no progress is foreseen with the political implementation of the “Steinmeier formula” and the consolidation of the block of questions on the Donbass in Ukrainian legislation. But this will not happen – there will be no sense in the second meeting of the “Norman Four”. Zelensky understands that his arguments and arguments in favor of this meeting are hanging in the air. Perhaps that is why he demonstrates the tactics of his predecessor Peter Poroshenko and makes transparent allusions to the forces, whose goodwill depends on the cessation of the war in the Donbass literally “tomorrow”. This is a demonstration of Zelensky’s unwillingness to do the homework he received in Paris.


– The discontent of Europeans will be limited, as always, by the call for Russia to carry out “Minsk”? Or are any steps possible against Kiev?


  • Discontent against Kiev will stop and weakly rush outside. But inside Ukraine, they are very unhappy with Kiev and Zelensky. For Merkel this prolonged situation of neither war nor peace is beneficial at all. For Macron and France – to a much lesser extent. And yet, we think this will not always be the case. There is a possibility, we believe, of a radical change in the vector of the policy of the leading European countries towards Ukraine. But this process is not fast. The stronger the dissatisfaction of Old Europe with the United States and their voluntary satellites in Europe — Poland and Ukraine — grows, the more are the reasons for the prospects for a change in the positions of Old Europe. However, Russia is quite satisfied with the current status quo. And yet, time is working for us and against Ukraine.