Ukrainian interest. Maneuvers in Normandy format, parliamentarian visits, and cynicism at UN Security Council
The Normandy Four negotiations have intensified substantially. A group of French MPs decided to play along with Vladimir Putin by visiting Crimea, while the European Parliament delegation paid a visit to Kyiv. Russia beats another record in cynicism at the UN Security Council.
As far as Donbas remains Europe’s hottest spot, as military experts believe that summer is the best time for an offensive, the negotiation process in the Normandy format has become more active. For two weeks in a row, the four leaders have been discussing over the phone the prospects for a Donbas crisis settlement. Moscow has made a move with the hands of Russian proxies, promising to begin withdrawal of weapons from the contact line. However, it is unclear what prevented them from fulfilling the Minsk ceasefire agreement before. Poroshenko noted the deterioration of the security situation in the east of Ukraine, while Vladimir Putin traditionally called for direct talks between Kyiv and the militant leaders on the issue of a "special status of Donbas".
It is interesting to note that this time, the prospects of concluding a trilateral agreement on gas supplies for the coming winter appeared on the agenda. It seems that in the European Union decided to approach the issue of ensuring its energy security more seriously, in the wake of the unpredictability of the Kremlin and the Gazprom . There seems to be no alternative to the Ukrainian gas transportation system in the near future, as even Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was forced to recognize the failure of the South Stream project.
The Kremlin went on with the long-prepared template by organizing a Crimea visit for a dozen of French parliamentarians. For obvious reasons, the delegation flew via Moscow, where State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin told the French MPs old story about "peaceful annexation of Crimea" by Ukraine back in 1991. However, head of delegation Thierry Mariani, together with his accomplices, did not need to justify their actions. Head of the National Assembly of France Claude Bartolon intends to visit Kyiv shortly to show that Paris does not recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Meanwhile, the delegation of the European Parliament, led by the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee Elmar Brok visited Kyiv. Mr.Brok assured reaffirmed the EP’s support of Ukraine and did not rule out that MEPs will come to Ukraine as observers at the local elections in October.
Despite the vacation period, diplomatic battles are in full swing in New York. Following the Malaysian submission of a draft resolution on setting up an international tribunal to punish those responsible for the shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 to the UN Security Council, Russia proposed its own, alternative, draft resolution, while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called to join the two proposals together. This absurd scenario is hardly possible, so Russian representative to the UN Security Council Vitaly Churkin, has projected the failure of the resolution. However, nobody is ready to predict the response of the international community to the results of the investigation into the crash, which will be published by the Netherlands in early August.