As the United States change course on ending the war in the Donbas

The Administration trump has a plan to move the Minsk process forward. The appointment of a new special envoy at the state Department for Europe and Eurasia, according to Washington, should accelerate the process of peaceful settlement of the military conflict in the Donbass. This is what recently published an article in The Washington Post. In fact, the information is not new. Immediately after the meeting with Donald trump the head of the Ukrainian foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said that the U.S. was willing to join the negotiation format with Russia in the Donbass. In fact, it turned out that we are talking about the revitalization of the old negotiation platform “Nuland-Surkov”. Looking for a candidate to replace former assistant Secretary of state lasts for several months. One of the contenders – former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker. But it is hardly possible to say with confidence that it will appoint to the state Department to Rex Tillerson. Indeed, in the new American Administration has not yet decided who will be engaged in Ukrainian dossier at the highest level. Under President Barack Obama issues Ukraine was sponsored by at that time, Vice President Joe Biden. Ukraine, analysts said, was his favorite child. Whether the Ukrainian dossier to the current Vice-President Mike Pence is an open question. The States have not even formed a clear foreign policy strategy, not to mention its policy towards Ukraine.

Just in time for the first foreign tour of the President of the United States Donald trump Professor of international relations at Georgetown University and former special assistant for national security President Barack Obama Kupchan on the pages of the Financial Times described how Donald trump could end the war in Ukraine. In his opinion, Washington needs to play a greater role in the negotiations on the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

“The Obama administration was actively involved in these negotiations, but still gave the leading role to Paris and Berlin at the request of the Europeans. Washington now needs to take a Central role, together with the German and French leaders to put pressure on Moscow and Kiev to bring the perform (Minsk – Ed.) agreements to the end. And the first step trump should be the appointment of a special representative (in the state Department – Ed.) for negotiations on Ukraine,” writes Charles Kupchan in the Financial Times.

A week later, columnist for the Washington Post Josh Rogin in his article noted that during the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington for talks with Donald trump last made it clear: security issues in Europe and the Ukrainian crisis – the case of Europe itself. But after meeting in the White house, first with Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and then Ukrainian Pavlo Klimkin its opinion the Administration, apparently, has changed.

“Between Russia and the United States at the level of departments is built a new strategy for the resumption of relations between the countries, with the assistance of the office of the Vice President of the United States Mike Pence. Tillerson wants to appoint a special envoy from the state Department to manage new efforts in Ukraine. The purpose of this special envoy will be to support diplomatic channel with the Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov,” writes Josh Rogin in The Washington Post.

While Washington has not confirmed the information about what Vice-President Mike Pence will lead the Ukrainian dossier. Although former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst in the interview with “Today” did not rule out this possibility. It is also unclear who will replace state Department Victoria Nuland, who was in charge of Europe and Eurasia and often met with Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, who is called the architect of annexation of Crimea, separatism and the subsequent Russian intervention in the Donbass. “Successor Nuland can be found, probably, if not since the inauguration, it is already a couple of months for sure. Even called the potential candidates. One of them is Kurt Volker, Executive Director of the McCain Institute, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, a highly experienced diplomat. There are other contenders, there were discussions how this should be either a diplomat or a political figure. So I think that special novelty (US involvement in the negotiation process with Russia in the Donbas – Ed.) can only be in the level of engagement of the US and the new Administration in the settlement process”, – said the “Today” Director of the Institute of world policy Alyona Hetmanczuk.

Despite numerous publications in the Western press, the US is unlikely to be actively involved in the Normandy format and Minsk process. Especially obvious it became after an exchange of courtesies trump and Merkel at the NATO summits in Brussels and the G7 in the Italian Taormina. The Chancellor of Germany was dissatisfied with the talks with the US President on climate change. The past has criticized Berlin for a significant preponderance of German exports over imports in comparison with other European countries and the dominance of German cars on the American market. With the newly elected President of France Emmanuel Makron Donald trump with warm fellowship also did not work. Macron compared the tramp with the presidents of Russia and Turkey, they say, they come from a position of strength, and shake hands with the trump called “moment of truth”.

“For now, that is reconnaissance. Today one can hardly expect a balanced foreign policy strategy of the USA concerning Russia. Trump is mired in domestic scandals he was facing impeachment (U.S. 10 cities urge Congress to begin impeachment proceedings – Ed.) the investigation (about Russian intervention in the American elections and the relationship of the environment trump with the Kremlin – Ed.) accordingly, he will be busy with this issue – as if to protect their legitimacy. On the summit of the Big seven, they actually had a fight. The only thing they have achieved is to continue the sanctions,” – said the “Today” Director of the foreign policy Institute of the Diplomatic Academy under the MFA of Ukraine Grigory Perepelitsa.

According to experts, until the US develop a clear foreign policy strategy not only to Ukraine and Russia, but also in relation to the European Union, to expect serious progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements is not necessary. Even if the States are defined with the successor of Victoria Nuland at the state Department. It is not so important personalities as leverage for the Kremlin. One of these, according to John Herbst, can be not only a continuation but a tightening of sanctions against Russia. This possibility is now being actively discussed in the U.S. Congress. But the political decision has been made.

However, after the talks between Putin and Macron in Versailles, the latter not only severely criticized Russia and Russia Today and Sputnik called propaganda resources, but did not exclude the tightening of sanctions against Moscow. It is noteworthy that immediately after this meeting, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that recently held a telephone conversation leaders “channel four”. The soil was prepared by the Deputy foreign Ministers, who met yesterday in Berlin. However, the subject of the filling of the Road map – a phased plan of implementation of the Minsk agreements has not been raised (the development leaders “channel four” agreed during a recent meeting in Berlin on October 19 last year). The process lasts almost 8 months, but no result so far. To hope that Russia will fulfill its part of the Minsk agreements at least in the area of security cease-fire, withdraw from the Donbass mercenaries and their equipment, will give Ukraine control of the border – is not necessary. After all, it is still unclear how the Kremlin will play the card of Donbass in his presidential race.

Western analysts have warned that dragging out the process only in the hands of Russia. The West, especially the US, needs to be more decisive. As a maximum – to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons, at least not to cut military aid to Kiev. “If Ukraine will be denied the means for self-protection, she probably will not stand the influence of Russia and the rest of the former Soviet Union, and this influence will spread to the West. Eastern Europe will live in the shadow of war, ethno-political tensions and the reality of possible territorial “amputation”, as happened in Ukraine. Wrote Sherman Garnett, who worked at the Carnegie endowment, Ukraine – the cornerstone of the European security architecture. Its downfall or disintegration will entail the disintegration of the European security“, – wrote in his column for the Atlantic Council senior fellow American Foreign Policy Council Stephen Blank.