At a meeting in the oval office of the White house in March of this year, President trump said German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the Ukrainian crisis is the responsibility of Europe and the United States will not be much in it to engage. This was said officials received information about the results of their deliberations. But just two months later, the administration of the trump changes his course and plans to significantly increase its involvement in Ukrainian Affairs.
For the Secretary of state’s Rex Tillerson, who heads the behind-the-scenes efforts, Ukraine is the place where are still blocked trump’s plan for the improvement of us-Russian relations can be put into action. The idea Tillerson — she is still at an early stage — is to renew the version of the peace talks, which last year was involved in the Obama administration, and hopes that the new circumstances and new actors can provide the best results. This is reported by American officials and outside experts.
Among the many members of the administration present skepticism, and they believe that any “reset” of relations with Russia is an exercise in futility under the conditions prevailing in the country the political climate in which the dominant position occupied by the investigation concerning the Russian intervention in the American political system. However, trump and Tillerson intend to undertake such an attempt.
European officials, for their part, welcomed such efforts. “We highly appreciate what the new administration will be more actively involved in the solution of the Ukrainian question. Initially the impression was that she was not very interested in this issue. However, the situation has largely changed,” said the foreign Minister of Germany, Sigmar Gabriel, may 17, in an interview with the Washington Post after a meeting with Tillerson.
Germany and France are members of the so-called Normandy format, that is, attempts to implement adopted in 2015 Minsk agreement, which is currently stalled because of a violation of the agreement on the ceasefire in the first place from the Russian-backed forces, as well as by the lack of movement in the Ukrainian political process. They hope that the United States can lead the situation out of the impasse.
“We know that Russia will take steps only in case if the Americans will also be on Board and will get them to do more for the ceasefire and for the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the region, — said Gabriel. Russians know that Russia’s behavior in Ukraine is a precondition for cooperation (United States) with Russia in other areas.” The shift in the position of the Ladder became apparent on may 10, when he conducted the widely discussed currently in talks with Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Ukrainian foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin, who has attracted less attention. “I said you guys need to make peace you must make peace,” he later said trump in an interview on the Fox News channel.
Although the White house and the state Department declined to comment, American officials and other observers confirmed that Tillerson has held many discussions with Bay about moving forward on this issue. In addition, it is possible to speak about presence of an active interagency process to develop a new strategy in which it participates and the office of the Vice-President of Pensa. Tillerson wants to have state Department special envoy who would lead the process and has provided leadership for new efforts on the part of Ukraine. This new envoy has revived the U.S.-Russian diplomatic channel of communication with Vladislav Surkov, known as the Kremlin’s “gray cardinal”. Victoria Nuland, assistant Secretary of state in the administration of President Obama, in the end, are unable to succeed with this channel last year.
According to officials, the situation today is different because Russian President Vladimir Putin can no longer waste time waiting to power more favorably-minded administration in the United States. In addition, the governments of France and Germany in the near future will be more friendly towards Russia.
However, all complicate the internal political problems of trump, called the scandal over Russia. Congress is reluctant to impose new sanctions against Russia, and not to cancel them. The lawmakers, representing both parties, will be configured very skeptical in relation to any transaction that trump will try to conclude with Moscow.
John Herbst (John Herbst), a former US Ambassador to Ukraine, said that trump can use the threat of new sanctions or even the actual introduction of pressure in order to Putin’s got more incentives for concessions.
“Without changing the conditions on earth diplomacy is unlikely to bring success,” he said.
Details matter. According to Alexander Vershbow, a former senior official of the Pentagon and NATO, such a deal is possible if the trump team will develop a new approach based on the proposal for the easing of limited sanctions only after Russia fulfils the conditions of the agreement on a ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from Eastern Ukraine. “The probability of such developments is small, he said. — However, the best way for trump to disarm his critics would be to ignore expectations and to prepare a new agreement on the basis of which the Russians will take Eastern Ukraine.”
If trump will not make every effort to conclude a deal with Moscow and will fail, in this case, at least, will clear the true intentions of Putin. Then the administration will have no choice but to actively oppose Russian aggression, to increase support for the Ukrainian government, including the military, and to abandon the idea of another reboot of relations with Russia.