The very fact that the European Parliament has decided to appoint its special representative for Crimea and Donbas is a real diplomatic victory for Ukraine. After all, there are plenty of conflicts ongoing in various non-EU states, and European legislators rarely draw such attention to pressing issues in such on-EU countries. Such an unprecedented focus on Ukraine is a result of strong diplomatic pressure on the part of Kyiv.
An EU special envoy will have to visit Ukraine's temporarily occupied territories, in particular, Donbas. The envoy will have to perform functions similar to those performed by Kurt Volker of the United States of America; that is, to be an intermediary between the Ukrainian authorities and their Russian counterparts. authorities of Russia.
For Russians, this will create additional problems, because they will not be able to avoid meeting with this special envoy or prevent the official from visiting the temporarily occupied areas
For Russians, this will create additional problems, because they will not be able to avoid meeting with this special envoy or prevent the official from visiting the temporarily occupied areas.
In addition, it has already been announced that a package of new sanctions against the Russian Federation is being prepared due to the situation in the Azov Sea, which has now become truly threatening.
Why did the European Union pay attention to this and made such a decision? First of all, that's because the EU cares about its own interests, because Russians detained not only Ukrainian vessels, but also EU-flagged vessels on their way to the ports of Berdiansk and Mariupol, which leads to huge losses. As a rule, the delay of a single vessel by Russian border guards costs shipowners $10,000-$50,000. Therefore, this is about a purely pragmatic interest of Europeans. It is European businesses trading with Ukraine who pushed European governments to appoint the special envoy.
This is a great victory. The main thing now is for this special envoy to be able to launch the work and have access to temporarily occupied territories
This is a great victory. The main thing now is for this special envoy to be able to launch the work and have access to temporarily occupied territories, and draw a fair and impartial report on what is going on there.
How effective can be the work of a special representative, given that Volker is not too successful in negotiating with Russia? In fact, Volker is as effective as it is possible at all. His efforts are unique. Whatever some say, his work resulted in many behind-the-scenes processes, including the introduction of sanctions against Russian oligarchs.
It is clear that American diplomacy is more focused, more reasoned and clear, unlike the European one. Indeed, in Europe, very differing voices are heard. For example, on the one hand, we hear the statements by Italian Prime Minister Salvini, who called for the lifting of sanctions against Russia, and on the other – there is the position of the UK, which is still in the European Union, and yonger EU members, such as Poland, demanding maximum punishment for Russians. Because of this, the EU special envoy cannot be as effective as Ambassador Volker.
Nevertheless, the fact that the Europeans managed to come to an agreement is already a big surprise. After all, they did agree, even though many European countries (Hungary, Italy and others) are Putin's sympathizers, friends and agents in Europe.
Taras Berezovets is a political technologist, head of Berta Communications, co-founder of Ukrainian Institute for the Future