Did not have time, the newly appointed U.S. special envoy in Ukraine Kurt Volker to join this position, as went to Kiev to get acquainted with the situation. It is obvious that his challenges will be different from those which faced his predecessor, Victoria Nuland.
Six months after the inauguration of trump, the United States resumed the line of individual channels of communication for Donbass. On the appointment, Kurt Volker became known July 7, the first day of the summit of “Big twenty”, the same day the summit meeting of US President Donald trump and the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. In fact, the second event completely eclipsed the first. Although one cannot be considered less important than the second.
“Kurt Volker was recently appointed special representative on Ukraine. And I am grateful that you will give him the opportunity to spend a few days here to understand your perspective — of the government and people of Ukraine — with respect to this complex issue (the conflict in the Donbass — approx. ed.)”, — said the state Secretary of USA Rex Tillerson, staying on a visit in Kiev.
To familiarize the Walker with the future scope of work in such a short period after the appointment is not surprising. Washington is hoping that he will be aware of the processes in the framework of the “channel” meetings, and will engage in dialogue with the Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, as it did in the Obama administration assistant Secretary of state Victoria Nuland. However, there is reason to believe that, unlike Nuland, Welker will not be any “cookies”.
Kurt Volker is a professional and experienced diplomat, former permanent representative of Washington, NATO and the former head of the McCain Institute in Arizona. Experts call Welker a person, well versed in US foreign policy, in particular on the European and Russian directions. According to political consultant, the President of Fund of national strategies Taras Berezovets, in favor of this opinion plays several facts from the biography of Volker.
“This is a professional diplomat who served as Ambassador to NATO, and this is one of the key diplomatic posts of the second most powerful after the US representative in the UN security Council. Recently, he was Executive Director of the Institute of John McCain… Tillerson took the man from the wing “hawks” of the Republican party,” he said.
With this view agrees the Director of Institute of global strategies Vadim Karasev. According to him, the fact that the post of special representative for Ukraine nominated an experienced diplomat with good background and knowledge of NATO, the military-political and not just diplomatic issues — a good sign. The political scientist believes that, in contrast to Nuland, the mission of which is periodically carried out under specific challenges and problems, in the case of Volker, we are talking about a constant mode of consultations. In other words, the intensity of contacts is much higher. And this, in turn, may contribute to more intense diplomatic process and, as a consequence, progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, as well as overall solution to the conflict in the Donbas.
“The appointment of Volcker is in the interests of Ukraine. He can move with slipping the Minsk process and diplomatic solution to the conflict in the Donbas,” he says. In addition, in his opinion, Volcker — the man who will be able to compensate for the underestimation of Russia’s actions in the conflict in the Donbas with the top leadership of the United States.
A small battle of a big war
However, experts note that the consultations to resolve the conflict is impossible without dialogue with the Russian side. Taras Berezovets recalls that from the Russian side the negotiator was and remains the Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov. And Volker, you obviously have to communicate with him. “This is a very important but challenging dialogue with Surkov can not work, because it’s a crook world level”, — said political consultant.
Of course, the fact of appointment of the American representative on Ukraine will resume bilateral ties and means a more active US involvement in resolving the conflict in the Donbas. “The inability of Moscow, it has not fulfilled its obligations and the arrival of such a sober — minded diplomat is a signal that now come to the state Department are true professionals,” — says Berezovets.
“When it comes to the settlement of the situation in the East of Ukraine, he (Walker — approx. ed.) have expressed some criticism of the Minsk agreements from the point of view of interests of Ukraine. In the sense that they, in some positions, do not take into account the position of Kiev”, — adds Ukrainian political scientist, head of the Center for applied political studies “Penta” Volodymyr Fesenko. “For us it is important that in the negotiation process Walker will not give any bonuses, advances Russian and will not be involved in the game with Surkov, as it was the case with Nuland”, — he said.
On the other hand, it is unlikely to mean the emergence of a significant progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements. “It’s all about the unwillingness of Russia to fulfill its obligations. And assigning at least the tenth U.S. representative in this process will not change until Putin does not want to leave the Donbass or go for a compromise”, — stressed Berezovets.
Information against provocations
Fesenko also noted that Walker, the negotiator, his business to make suggestions, and important foreign policy decisions are made by the Secretary of state and the President of the United States. Indeed, rejoicing in the appointment of a “hawk” for Donbass, it is worth considering that trump is using Ukraine as a balance in relations with Russia. While it really works in favor of Kiev. But trump wants to negotiate with Russia. So tough Pro-Ukrainian rhetoric may be compensated by agreement with the Russians on other issues.
According to Fesenko, trump and Tillerson choose some other priorities than the resolution of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict: “Recovering Shuttle mission, when the American representative will be in Kiev and Moscow. Walker will be parallel to the negotiations in the Normandy, Minsk formats, to try to speed up the negotiation process will search for a compromise… But excessive illusions about direct U.S. involvement in negotiations on the Donbass, that is, the inclusion of USA in the “channel format” should be expected. Do not want trump.”
On the other hand, subjective anti-Russian stance Volcker, according to the analyst of international Affairs Taras Chornovil, says that the team, trump will be very widely informed about each of the provocations from the Kremlin. And it is unlikely the hawks will miss the opportunity of this information to use.