Bullish: how America and France are sorted out on leadership in the Donbass

While Angela Merkel in Germany is busy with the elections, the role of the main “führer” in Normandy and Minsk process gradually move on the United States and France. The new special representative of the state Department in Ukraine Kurt Volker, who was appointed a few hours before the first meeting of the tramp with Putin in Hamburg, will promote “the formula of Macron” a new plan for the renewal of the Minsk agreements. Its the Normandy four leaders will discuss during telephone conversations before the end of the month. Until recently, the Russian media paid particular attention to the identity of the Walker and the components of the “formula Rules”, making them a big bet. But yesterday, in “DNR” announced the creation of “the Ukraine” with its capital in Donetsk and flag of Bohdan Khmelnytsky. At first glance this seems like another nonsense and a bad joke fighters. But it is hard to believe that this statement by the leader of the Donetsk militants could have done without orders from the Kremlin, where already hastened to disown “the Ukraine”, calling it a non-political project.

After the visit of Peter Poroshenko in Paris and talks with Emmanuel Macron, the first meeting of Donald trump with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit and the appointment of the first ever state Department special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, there is hope that the Minsk process will finally move forward. AP Deputy Konstantin Eliseev called it the end of the “period of stagnation and transition into a more active offensive phase”.

“We welcome that in recent weeks we have significantly intensified the dialogue with the American side. Volker you need to quickly enter into the process, to fill the existing vacuum of information. We very much hope that after the adoption of some proposals and submitted to the leadership of the United States. A key goal in all of this is to try to push the peace process in the Donbass through the exercise even creative approach – innovative elements,” said Elisha.

This “innovative element” can become a “formula Rules”, which Poroshenko said after talks with French President at the Elysee Palace. According to the Deputy Minister on the issues of the temporarily occupied territories of Yuriy Hrymchak, the Plan of Macron is the execution plan of the Minsk agreement, when for any failure to satisfy paragraphs will introduce additional sanctions. AP Deputy Konstantin Eliseev said that “formula Rules” is, above all, end the so-called creeping annexation of the Donbas by Russia and create conditions for gradual recovery by Ukraine of its territorial integrity.

“There is an understanding that the solution to the so-called security package of the Minsk agreements is a priority. We are talking about the immediate beginning of the exchange and release of hostages. But the most important and the key is to stop killing people, that is the silence mode shall be provided completely, not abstractly. The second is the withdrawal of heavy weapons, the third is to grant access to OSCE monitors to the occupied territory, including the uncontrolled part of the Russian-Ukrainian border. And, of course, we are talking about ending the intimidation of observers by the Russian side”, – explained Konstantin Eliseev.

However, here, according to experts, another interesting key point – how much security, according to the American side, you need to go to the implementation of the political part of Minsk agreements. In approaches to addressing this issue in 2015-2016 between Washington and Kiev were important contradictions. “The Ukrainian leadership came from the position of the high, demanding, including not just the withdrawal of all Russian military equipment and mercenaries from ORDO, but also border control, at least through the SMM of the OSCE. While Washington is the maximum that can offer this storage of Russian weapons in special places under the supervision of the OSCE. So I wonder how this time will develop a discussion between the U.S. and Ukraine about how much security is enough. But still some reason for optimism in Kiev, there are statements of representatives of the United States clearly record that they take the whole Ukrainian formula “first security, then politics” – said “Today” analyst of the Institute of world politics Nicholas Beleskov.

It is about the “formula Rules” and talk to the leaders of the Normandy Quartet on the phone. The talks, according to Poroshenko to take place before the end of July. Experts believe that the Kremlin, though on its own terms, certainly agree on the “formula Rules”. “As always insisting on the fact that Russia is not directly involved in the war in the Donbass, and that the militants should be involved (Kyiv, according to Putin, needs to establish a direct dialogue with the militants. – Ed.)”, – said the “Today” Professor of political science at Rutgers University in Newark (new Jersey) Alexander Motyl.

The opposite opinion is shared by former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst. According to him, while Moscow sees no reason to curtail the aggression in the Donbass, so the leader of the Donetsk militants Zaharchenko already rejected the “formula Rules”. “But if the price of Russian aggression increased, if imposed stronger sanctions, or the West would give Ukraine of a powerful defensive weapon formula “Macron” could help open the path to progress” – said “Today,” John Herbst.

To help the French in the promotion of “formula Rules” will be newly appointed special envoy of the state Department, Kurt Volker. His figure in Russia attach special importance. In his original article, Professor-researcher national research UNIVERSITY “Higher school of Economics” Fyodor Lukyanov writes that an important outcome of the first meeting of the tramp with Putin was “an arrangement for the South of Syria, the appointment of the significant trump of the special envoy for Ukraine and the establishment of a working group on cyber security”. Moreover, according to Lukyanova, now America is more interested in Ukraine than Syria. “Six months ago, many reasoned – who with hope who with horror – that between trump and Putin the exchange “Ukraine to Syria.” Now available almost return exchange: Syria – Russia, Ukraine, America,” writes Fyodor Lukyanov.

According to sources “” close to the Minsk process, Kurt Volker already in detail got acquainted with the “plan Rules” and even introduced him in Moscow, the Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, who is called the architect of annexation of the Crimea, military intervention in the Donbass and curator ORDO. The outcome of this meeting we find out after telephone negotiations of the Normandy four leaders. But it is easy to guess what will be the position of the Kremlin. For several months now, Moscow unsuccessfully attempts to negotiate with Washington the return of their ziprasidone in new York and Maryland that Barack Obama seized in December last year over Russia’s intervention in the presidential election. Yesterday’s meeting, Deputy foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Undersecretary of state Thomas Shannon, the state Department also has not brought results. Now Russia is threatening to impose sanctions mirrored – confiscate American depresident in Russia and to expel the us diplomats.

But interestingly, immediately after the failed negotiations, Ryabkov and Shannon the leader of the Donetsk militants Zaharchenko announced the creation of “the Ukraine” instead of the present “DNR”/”LNR”. In the occupied Lugansk, the Russian was quick to reject the ideas of the leader of the Donetsk militants, and the Russian media with reference to sources in presidential Administration reported that Surkov to the statement Zakharchenko has no relation. Close to Surkov experts called “the project “Ruthenia” is rather literary than political, which in a month will forget everything.”

But the NSDC Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov believes that “this perverse bullshit” and was just written in the Kremlin. Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said that Moscow is trying to play in the Donbass Abkhazian scenario, pulled out of mothballs “little Russia.” The statement of the leader of the Donetsk militants have condemned and representatives of the “Normandie”, the Ministry of foreign Affairs of France and Germany. By the end of the day with comments to the press came the representative of the Russian Federation in the Trilateral contact group (TAG) Boris Gryzlov: “This initiative does not fit into the Minsk process, I see it only as an invitation to debate, no legal implications this statement has. Most likely, this proposal is related to information warfare and is not subject to real politics.”

I wonder how that happened yesterday will affect US policy toward the Minsk process, because to force Russia to change its position, the United States cannot, and therefore already possible before the end of 2017, another attempt to start a settlement on the basis of the Minsk agreements will fail. “It is critically important for Ukraine that the United States did not consider our government to be responsible for it. Besides, I wonder what will the US do, having come to a standstill – what position they will occupy in the settlement. Although, as shown by today’s events with the proclamation of Ukraine come to a standstill settlement, the United States can even before. What took place today in Donetsk, contrary to the spirit and letter of the Minsk agreements, and therefore deprives Kurt Volker, the basis for the work”, – said Mykola Beleskov.

The representative of Ukraine in the humanitarian sub-group, the Vice-speaker Irina Gerashchenko believes that statements about “the Ukraine” appeared on the eve of today’s meeting in Minsk, where ORDO need to divert attention from the topic of the hostages and security, because until the end of July to be held telephone talks in the Normandy format and Putin needs to up the ante, continuing their cynical game of “we’re not there”.

The bull is a favorite tactic of Putin. A former representative of Ukraine in the political subgroup of the TAG Immortal novel always said that on the eve of important negotiations, the Kremlin hands of the militants in the Donbas are satisfied with yet another escalation. It should also pay attention to what is behind the scenes – or rather, near the border with Ukraine. According to the chief of the General staff Viktor Muzhenko, three motorized rifle division deployed by Russia near our borders, not intended for defense, and have a clear offensive focus. In sum, with the upcoming Russian-Belarusian military exercises, that Putin may blackmail the participants of the Normandy format.