Ukrainian interest. Klimkin's landmarks, Mogherini's support, and new State Secretary in Washington
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, in an interview with the BBC Ukrainian Service, outlined goals and priorities of Ukrainian diplomacy. Illegal elections in the occupied Crimea are a litmus test of Kyiv-Moscow relations. Federica Mogherini visited Kyiv. Donald Trump replaced his top diplomat. Robert Fico gave a kind of a lesson to Ukrainian politicians.
Pavlo Klimkin made it clear that Ukraine would not go for a compromise with Russia on the occupied Crimea, while holding presidential elections in the occupied peninsula, he says, should become a catalyst for the introduction of new sanctions by the international community. The foreign minister counts on the introduction of peacekeepers in Donbas, which is possible only after the UN Security Council passes a corresponding decision. Klimkin also says he believes that Russia does not deserve to host FIFA World Cup 2018, calls on foreign politicians to boycott the event, and on Ukrainian fans – not to travel to Russia. The minister admitted being concerned about the latest developments in Ukraine-Hungary relations approaching the "red line". As for relations with Poland, the foreign minister hopes for some positive dynamics.
The immediate task of Ukrainian diplomacy is to achieve the maximum consolidation of the international community as regards the March 18 elections the Kremlin plans to hold including in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea Russia claims its own. Even ahead of the vote, a number of EU powers have already recognized the election in Crimea as illegitimate. Both the official resolutions of the UN General Assembly and, paradoxically, the position of Russia, whose leadership consistently shreds relations with the rest of the world, can play in Kyiv's hands. Another confirmation is the recent poisoning of ex-spy Sergey Skripal becoming the first case of the use of chemical warfare agents on NATO soil. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Therese May's response shouldn't be deemed too soft as certain measures, for now, remain unseen to a public eye.
EU's top diplomat Federica Mogherini visited Kyiv this week, confirming the bloc's support for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and assuring there is no "Ukraine fatigue" in Brussels. She supported the idea of introducing the UN "blue helmets" in Donbas and recalled that the European Union plays a significant role in maintaining the OSCE SMM. The EU High Representative for Foreign Policy spoke in favor of the resumption of tripartite consultations on gas supplies and traditionally called for the creation of an independent Anti-Corruption Court. Aside from her meetings with Poroshenko and Groysman, talks were also held with Minister for the occupied territories and IDPs, Vadym Chernysh. However, the EU official did not take risks of visiting Donbas.
Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolev suggested that the members of the European Parliament thoroughly study the situation surrounding the March gas crisis and form their own position. Of course, it will be a tough task against Russia's powerful efforts aimed at Nord Stream-2 construction. At the same time, the approach of the Ukrainian energy monopoly to resolving the gas crisis is qualitatively different from that in the previous rounds of a gas war Russia has been waging against Ukraine.
Donald Trump moved to replace U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, announcing his decision via Twitter. Citing "different mindsets" with Tillerson, Trump believes he will find common language with former CIA chief Mike Pompeo who is set to take over the post. It seems that the U.S. president seeks to have someone more understandable and devoted, and competent at the same time, at the top diplomatic post. No less interesting is that for the first time in the history of the States the post of CIA director was proposed to a female candidate - Gina Haspel, the agency's former deputy director. The move is largely revolutionary, indeed.
In Slovakia, the political crisis continues, caused by the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his bride. The resignation of Interior Minister Robert Kalinak was not enough for the angry crowds that took to the streets in the country's capital, so PM Robert Fico was also forced out of his seat. By opting to step down, Fico is trying to save the coalition. The thing is that the positions of the right forces, who don't even hide their sympathies for the Tiso regime during World War 2, have recently boosted significantly, and early parliamentary elections could radically change the political picture in the country. Incidentally, Fico taught a kind of a lesson to Ukrainian politicians who are extremely reluctant to part with their seats under almost similar compromising circumstances.