The top 5 risks and priorities of Ukraine in conditions of “cold peace”

After the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the Russian military aggression on Donbass, Western leaders spoke about a new phase of the cold war, only now between the Kremlin and the entire democratic Western world. But analysts do an amendment that is more of a new “cold peace,” as during the cold war the world was bipolar, and Russia were allies. Now in the conditions of the multipolar world, an isolated Russia’s hybrid war on all fronts is extremely difficult to say who might be the next victim of the Kremlin. The annexation of Crimea and Russia’s military aggression in the Donbas has shown that international rules and laws you can break, and in addition to sanctions on the aggressor is not threatened. And Western leaders now is not Russia bother in the first place. Anyway, the main issue discussed at the annual 53rd the Munich security conference – is there life after the election trump President of the United States. Everyone on the sidelines of the Munich conference communicated the correspondent of “Today”, said the Ukrainian agenda, and Russian aggression has faded into the background. And it’s a shame, because the Kremlin can take advantage of the vacuum: while in Russia nobody pays much attention, Putin may take drastic steps, especially in the run-up to presidential elections in March 2018. And Ukraine will have to consider all these challenges and adapt its foreign policy agenda to today’s realities. “Today” has analyzed the main risks and priorities of world politics that await Ukraine in the next couple of years, and that will have to be considered, in order not to lose the support of Western partners.

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The behavior of the USA when trump and panic in the EU. It is no exaggeration to say that in the EU there is complete chaos after the election Donald trump President of the United States. This is not surprising, because trump is the only one of the American presidents, at least recently, who has questioned the unity of the European Union. We all remember his campaign statement that the EU is on the verge of collapse. It is logical that European leaders have hinted us: “kindly explain the meaning of your campaign slogans”. On the other hand, and in Brussels know that the acquisition of the new American administration will continue until the summer, so it would have gave time to Washington to shape its foreign policy agenda. But in the key capitals of the EU election: the parties and leaders, who are now in power, sank the rating, therefore, the support of the United States they could really use right now, because time is running out.

At the Munich security conference, in fact, first after the election trump event of world importance, the top topic of discussion was the unpredictability of the policy of the new American administration. For many of the American delegation, headed by Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of defense James Mattis’s visit to Munich was a chance to convince the Europeans otherwise. Partially managed to do it: Pens and Mattis, on behalf of the US President assured the EU leaders in a stable support of Washington. But, acting by the method of carrot and stick, the American establishment immediately reminded of the EU on the requirements for NATO membership, in particular, required annual contributions for defense in the amount of 2% of GDP.

“For many years, Europeans were free “horsemen”, they perceived transatlantic cooperation for granted. They thought that Americans would always solve all the problems that they will Finance the necessary military issues, and will provide economic assistance in case of need,” – said in an interview with “Today,” former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

As Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of the EU: “People make changes only when necessary, and see the necessity only in a time of crisis”. The European Union, which can not overcome the immigration crisis and just beginning to digest BREXIT, still have to find new approaches to governance and cooperation, in particular with the United States. According to many experts and analysts, trump can help the Europeans finally find their own place and role in world politics. Ukraine in today’s situation, faced even greater challenges than in 2014, when did the Russian aggression. Elections in America have shifted the focus of attention of the European Union, where now not so much afraid of military aggression of the Kremlin following the Ukraine as that States will not come to the rescue if Russia does attack. Kiev in such a situation it is necessary not only to strengthen diplomatic work on all fronts, but to convince Europe that Ukraine only in practice, know how effectively to resist the military and information aggression of the Kremlin. It is advisable to propose to Brussels a clear plan of joint actions of Ukraine and the EU to counter Russian aggression.

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New European defense Union as an alternative to NATO. Pre-election words of Donald trump that NATO is an outdated defense Alliance, became a cold shower for European leaders who believed in the unity of the Alliance and the inviolability of article 5 of the NATO Charter (on which an attack on one NATO member is an attack on the entire Alliance). Before the official statements of Pens and Mattis that the United States and trump believe in the unity of NATO and will continue to support the Alliance Brussels even started to blackmail Washington with the creation of a “European defence Union”. The flagship idea stands Germany, which, according to experts, can unite around key European players. In Berlin can even donate by France, if there is a sudden Pro-Russian candidate will win the presidency, and leave Paris behind a new defence Union.

However, after talks Donald trump with Angela Merkel, and Merkel Pens and Mattis, Berlin agreed to increase their defence spending to 2024 to achieve the required 2% deduction, since at the moment only five countries-NATO members fulfill this requirement: USA, Greece, UK, Estonia and Poland. But the idea of creating a “European defence Union” in Germany, not cast, making nedvuznachno statements for the United States. “We need to ask whether the neighbors of Germany will be peaceful if we become a big military power in Europe and will spend over 60 billion Euro a year on arms. I doubt it,” said the German foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel.

At the same time, member countries of the EU, which more than others suffer from the bulk of the migrants, simply cannot make large contributions to the defense industry as the solution to the migration crisis also requires funding. Ukraine, first of all- almost the only country in Europe that spends on defense 5% of GDP. Second, our army is the third year in a row opposed to the Russian aggression. And third, we till 2020 has committed to reforming the army to NATO standards. That is, Kiev has something to offer the EU for the formation of a common defense agenda.

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“Big deal” between Russia and USA in Ukraine and Syria? About a possible large deal between Moscow and Washington say not the first month. Periodically in the Western press appear incriminating articles about the negotiations advisers trump with Russian diplomats. After another such publication in The Washington Post, retired adviser to the US President on national security, Mike Flynn. Recently the French newspaper Le Monde came out with the author’s article is that Ukraine is the main stumbling block on the way to the “big deal” between the Kremlin and Washington.

States don’t really mind to find new common ground with Russia in the fight against ISIS. But, analysts warn, it is unlikely that the Kremlin would profess American values in politics in the middle East. Especially about Iran. And given that if trump his decree will decide to ease sanctions against Russia, and the Congress they will renew, if not strengthen, the special law, the relationship between Washington and the Kremlin exactly glowing. In addition, the Secretary of state Rex Tillerson in mid-January, managed to speak out in favor of supplying Ukraine with lethal weapons in case of continuation of hostilities in the Donbass.

“I would have left it without reaction. We will explain Secretary of state Tillerson all relevant issues as soon as they he will appear,” – said Tillerson press Secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov. Already at the Munich conference Vice-President Mike Pence declared that the new us administration believes that Russia should feel responsible for their actions in Ukraine. The head of Committee of the Russian Federation Council international Affairs Konstantin Kosachev said that Moscow is disappointed by the statement of the Pens. Also Pence, speaking in Munich, made it clear that with the collapse of the Soviet Union gave hope to the world. “After that, according to our information, the Kremlin has made a decision about acknowledgment of the so-called “DNR”/ “LNR”, – said the “Today” sources in the presidential Administration of Ukraine.

On the other hand, as noted by former Prime Minister of Sweden and member of the Ukrainian international Council of reforms, Carl Bildt, in an interview with “Today,” every new American President trying to improve relations with Moscow. The results saw the relationship only escalates. “The last three presidents of the USA started with, tried to improve relations with Russia. I think it’s necessary and a good thing to try to do. It is associated with many problems. I think that the conditions for this at the moment is not very favorable. Syria is becoming a very difficult problem to find a mutually acceptable solution. But I think it will be a Central theme. As for Ukraine, there must be clear and understandable statements from Washington: Minsk agreements must be implemented, including from Russia. But I do not see that all went to the “big deal” – said “Today,” Bildt.

However, even on the issue of Syria is not so clear. According to sources, The Washington Post, the Pentagon and other agencies to develop a new plan to combat ISIS. And cooperation with the Kremlin, while Russia will not cease to call all representatives of the Syrian opposition terrorists in America’s plans are not included. As for Ukraine, the United States urges Russia accountable for its aggression in the Donbas, but it is also clear that before the next presidential election in 2020, the United States, like the EU, want to weaken the sanctions. To do this, the West will try to speed up the implementation of the Minsk agreements. But the keys to peace in the Donbass, as we know, not in Kiev, and the Kremlin. True in Washington as in Berlin (Germany is the engine of the Minsk process) believe that the responsibility for the failure of “Minsk” are two. Therefore, Ukraine should hurry up with their proposals to US as to restart the “Norman format” and “Minsk agreements” on favorable terms, while not a “plan Artemenko-2”.

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The behavior of the Kremlin ahead of presidential elections. Today the main question, according to Carl Bildt, not even as Ukraine and the EU to establish relations with the new American administration, and where and what the Kremlin wants? “And for me that’s a critical problem if they are willing to refrain from holding the elections (the President – Ed.) next year that is being actively discussed in the political landscape of Russia”, – said Bildt.

The next presidential election in Russia must pass on 11 March 2018. But the closer the date, the more rumors that the Kremlin could withdraw from the elections, which could revive protests in the country. In Moscow had the idea of holding a referendum on confidence in the national leader – Vladimir Putin. This was supposedly discussed at the recent closed meeting of the head of the presidential administration of Russia Sergey Kirienko with the experts. While the refusal standard of the presidential elections is not officially stated, but none of the Russian politicians announced his candidacy. But if Russia still goes on for a national referendum, Putin will remain the option of reelection for a second term in 2024.

The idea of holding a referendum as a rejection of national elections is as old as the world. The first in the former Soviet Union such a referendum in 1994 was held by the President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov, who then declared himself President for life.
Exactly one year later in 1995, a referendum on his presidential powers until 2000 extended Nursultan Nazarbayev, after which he was four times re-elected. As the former President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, who twice in 1995 and 2002 extended their powers through a referendum.

Sources “” in presidential Administration of Ukraine said that Russia is ready to hold a slice of public opinion on the possible annexation of the occupied Russian territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, as on the topic of global leadership is not play. The G7 summit, which will be held may 25-27 at the Italian Taormina, again it will be held without Russia. According to the Ambassador of Italy in Ukraine David La Cecilia, the return of Russia to the G8 can be discussed only after settlement of the conflict in the Donbass. “Before the elections to the Duma played well card illegally annexed Crimea. Now according to our information, the Kremlin is preparing to hold polls on the possible accession ORDA to Russia. But there is also information that it can be element of the freezing of the war in the Donbass”, – said a source in AP.

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Work on the error: why the Ukrainian issue has faded into the background in the global agenda. Annual 53rd the Munich security conference showed that the Ukrainian issue was on the backburner. World leaders said that the annexation of the Crimea turned the world order after world war II and the end of the cold war, there is no assurance that all will abide by international laws and the signed memoranda, for example, Budapest.

In an interview with “Today,” former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said that, in his opinion, the topic of Ukraine at the Munich conference remained unsolved. “If we talk about things that bother me, grossly was missing two themes. The first is Ukraine, and the second – that the Russian organization attacked the United States last year, stole the data of one of our parties, interfered in our elections and helped one candidate to win. This is a big deal and should be discussed. It is important that this is not the end. They can apply this strategy in other countries. So, speaking of safety, it is necessary to speak about cybersecurity, the purity of our elections. By the way, given Russia’s capabilities, we should think about this and America, and Ukraine”, – said the “Today” McFaul.

This year, world leaders in Munich was bothered by one question: what is happening in Washington and how it all will end? Speech of Petro Poroshenko on the first day of the conference reminded the representatives of the US and the EU about for some values of Russian bullets killing Ukrainians in Donbas. But the right and those analysts and diplomats who say that in addition to the success in reforming the Ukrainian army have nothing else to boast: no loud landings corrupt, there is no promise, no visible and tangible results of successful reforms.

Only in conjunction with stories of successful reforms, especially in the fight against corruption, Ukraine can hope for further help from the West. In this case, Kiev will be more likely to attract the “Normandy format” talks with Russia such heavyweights as the U.S. and Britain, the guarantors of Ukraine’s sovereignty under the Budapest Memorandum.