Ukrainian interest. Game around Donbas, tricks of Russian Justice, and lessons of Nord Stream
With the cessation of active hostilities in Donbas, diplomatic efforts of various centers of influence to resolve the conflict have stepped up noticeably. Russian justice system decided to strike individual Ukrainian officials. Agreement on the construction of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline became a serious lesson not only for Ukraine, but also for the Central Europe.
Donbas remains at the spotlight of the world community. Even the United States, through its ambassador to Ukraine Jeffrey Payette, admitted that it takes an indirect part in Minsk consultations. Top German diplomat Frank-Walter Steinmeier stressed that the agreements reached in Minsk are only the beginning of the conflict settlement. His French counterpart Laurent Fabius expressed his country’s readiness to initiate lifting of sanctions against Russia if Minsk agreements are implemented in full.
In early October, the Normandy Four participants are to discuss in Paris the prospects for conflict settlement. While there is time left, Russian officials are trying to prepare the most favorable position for talks. For example, Sergei Lavrov performed as speaker of militants trying to sit Ukraine at the table of direct negotiations with the delegations from Donetsk and Luhansk. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed bewilderment regarding claims that Russia failed to implement Minsk agreements. He said, Moscow is not obliged to fulfill anything in this regard. Petro Poroshenko rightly refused to negotiate with pro-Russian rebels, resting on the effectiveness of decentralization and proposing to discuss carrying out an operation for the implementation of the Minsk Agreement in Donbas. Putin insists on granting special status to the breakaway Donbas region. I believe that the Kremlin’s messages will be supported by an escapade of Russia’s senior lobbyists, such as Nicolas Sarkozy and Silvio Berlusconi.
Russia began to prepare in advance for the release of the official results of the investigation into the cause of MH17 tragedy, which are to be published by the Netherlands in October. The results are highly unlikely to be favorable to Moscow, so Russia’s Investigative Committee is trying to pull the attention away from this issue. The Committee’s Chairman Aleksandr Bastrykin caused a bit of a laugh with the Ukrainian public with accusations of Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk of taking part in the Chechen War back in mid-90s on against the Russian military. However, not all the civilized world is well aware of Yatsenyuk’s real biography. Besides, Bastrykin’s accusations of Ukraine’s top military officials and also the Radical Party leader Oleh Lyashko in "violating the rules of war" may create an information background favorable to Russia.
An excellent illustration of the relationship of the European elite with Russia became the signing of an agreement on the construction of the Nord Stream-2 – a new branch of the pipeline designed to ship gas from Russia through the Baltic and the North Sea directly to Germany. The high price of the first branch did not seem to stop the initiators of the agreement, as they seek to reduce the volume of gas transported through the territory of Ukraine. While it is easy to understand the logic of the Russian officials, the actions of the Western European companies noticeably contradicts official statements of the European Union. No wonder the Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico made a statement following talks with Arseniy Yatsenyuk (both countries may potentially suffer significant financial losses) stressed that “they are making idiots of us.” It seems that the fighting in eastern Ukraine resulting in thousands of deaths does not interfere with the agenda of the “generals” of the European business. They still plan to obtain raw materials from Russia on favorable terms, while exporting goods with high added value back to Russia.