The sympathy of the President of the United States Donald trump to Russia is causing alarm in Kiev. The Ukrainian side started to actively pursue contacts with the new administration in Washington, and also hired the American lobbying company. In a sense, the Ukrainian government works behind the scenes to counter the reversal of the US towards Russia. In any case, even though President Petro Poroshenko and trying to communicate with trump, he has not made any shift in its policy. About it on the pages of The American Interest writes Sean Keeley, Recalling article Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk on “the necessary painful compromises” that Ukraine should do to end the war with Russia, and a number of domestic similar appeals, in particular from the Deputy of Hope Savchenko.
Columnist says that without the hope of getting lethal weapons from the United States, statements by the Ukrainian government indicate that it now has two priorities: to save Western aid to Kiev and sanctions against Russia. Poroshenko pointedly to distance the ideas expressed by Pinchuk in his article on the Wall Street Journal, ignoring his event in Davos during the world economic forum. And after recent outbreaks of violence in the town, the Ukrainian President consistently emphasized the need to implement the Minsk agreements, calling them “uncontested”.
According to observers, the intransigence of the Ukrainian President in the first place, due to internal political motives. His support rating fell heavily, and the electoral rating of the populists like former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko breathing down his back. Agreeing to any concessions in Donbas or Crimea, Poroshenko would have destroyed what remains of his political capital and would give the opportunity to opponents to put pressure with the objective of announcing early elections.
Most likely, the Ukrainian President will continue on his present course, requiring Washington’s vital assistance, but more intense. It remains to be seen how successful this approach to President Trump. Of course, Ukraine will hear the friendly statements from her lawyers on Capitol hill, such as senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. But those who make the decisions in Congress and the White house, in spite of formal allegiance to the Republican party, deeply divided on the issue of Ukraine.
Trump, it seems, is considering sanctions as a bargaining chip in a deal with Russia, not as an important component of the Ukrainian policy. In addition, he questioned the rigid American position that Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine. The Peninsula in his eyes is also a bargaining chip. If trump really going to lift sanctions and recognize Crimea as Russian territory, Ukraine will not agree with this.
The author observes that the majority of Ukrainians would consider such concessions unacceptable to Russia. According to the survey conducted by the International Republican Institute, 61% of Ukrainians insist that their country should remain a unitary. And only a few percent are willing to accept the Federal device, or to abandon the Crimea. Many Ukrainians reject the Minsk agreement as an unacceptable pressure on Ukrainian sovereignty. The official rejection of the Crimea and the Donbass would be tantamount to surrender.
That Poroshenko could offer Russia, if we were talking about the agreement on ending the war? He could agree to a peaceful solution of the question of the so-called “duty of Yanukovych” which is now considered in court in the UK. He could undo Ukrainian sanctions against Russian citizens and businesses. He could try to investigate through different sources, what else has the ability. But it is unlikely that any of this will satisfy Putin, who put a very ambitious goal: the recognition of the annexation of Crimea, the change of the Ukrainian Constitution so that Ukraine has become an instrument of the Kremlin’s influence in Kiev, and guarantees that Ukraine will not integrate with Western institutions.
If trump and Putin will try to impose on Ukraine such conditions, it is unlikely the outcome will be peace or the fall of the government Poroshenko.
The Ukrainians have good reason to suspect that Moscow will soon become even more bold and aggressive than the opposite. Under these conditions, Poroshenko attempt to break through the current status quo, with the hope that trump will change his mind and be on the side of Ukraine, not the worst choice.
“Ukraine often appeared before a difficult and painful choice between two unappealing compromises, being sandwiched between a half-hearted partners in the West and the Russian implacable enemy. Trump did not create this reality. His victory in the elections, it seems that only emphasized it, destroying the soothing illusion that supported the painful status quo. The danger for Ukraine is that this status quo will fall apart, and to replace it with will have nothing,” the article says.
Earlier edition of the New York Times wrote that trump was on the side of Putin in Ukraine.