Had Russia planned to grab the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (the so-called "DPR" and "LPR"), they would have long done that, says head of Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation Iryna Bekeshkina.
"But Russia's main goal is to have these territories back in Ukraine, in a way that Russia retains control over them, while Ukraine finances them. Such a Trojan horse, or a cancerous tumor, which they are trying to plant into Ukraine's body. Of course, Ukraine stands against this. So far, the 'DPR' and the 'LPR' are being used as a source of destabilization in Ukraine. And Moscow doesn't need these territories to accede to Russia as Moscow doesn't want to take care of them forever," the expert wrote for the Ukrainian news outlet Glavred.
At the same time, the expert is confident the Kremlin was well aware of the poll results and understood that the three candidates would be fighting for victory in the presidential elections in Ukraine: Volodymyr Zelensky, Petro Poroshenko, and Yulia Tymoshenko.
"Of course, Boyko would be the most desirable winner for them, but it didn't work out that way. Poroshenko was the most undesirable out of the three possible candidates, at least the Kremlin said so. Therefore, Zelensky's victory will not a shocker to Russia at all. One time, Zelensky had said he was ready for talks even with the devil, if needed, for the sake of peace in Donbas. Therefore, there might be hopes [in Russia] that it would be possible to push Ukraine to compromise on Russia's terms if Zelensky's at the helm. It's hard to say how realistic these hopes are and it's hard to say something definite about Zelensky's foreign policies," Bekeshkina added.