Ukrainian interest. Nadia vs Putin, Black Sea prospects, and peace-loving Obama
The sham trial of Nadia Savchenko is turning from the Kremlin’s propaganda move into a serious problem for the Putin regime. Poroshenko used his opportunity to talk to Ukraine’s potential partners in Turkey. The European Commission is ready to cancel EU visa regime for Georgia, while Ukraine is still on the waiting list. Barack Obama continues to play a role as a global peacemaker.
Nadia Savchenko continues the unfair fight against Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin propaganda masterminds tried to forcibly put into the Russian media context the Ukrainian pilot captured by Luhansk separatists in the summer of 2014. The idea was to show what will happen to anyone who helps to kill the Russians, even more so – TV reporters. However, the jailers were proved wrong: Savchenko appeared a tough nut to crack, while the evidence base in her case fails to prove her guilt in the alleged crimes.
The arbitrariness in the court of Donetsk in Russia’s Rostov region has resonated across the world almost as much as the situation in another Donetsk – a pro-Russian militant’s stronghold in eastern Ukraine. The wave of support for Savchenko, who is not only Ukrainian member of parliament, but also a delegate to PACE, has risen throughout the civilized world. And this support is not limited to the collection of signatures and public rallies: the EU leaders, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have issued statements on this matter. The West is rightfully wondering what Putin’s next step will be on his way of violation of international law and disregard for common sense.
However, the Russian response to the growing concerns over a week-long hunger strike of the defiant Ukrainian pilot was sordid. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's said in his statement that the defendant would be deprived of the possibility to be examined by Ukrainian doctors due to her disrespect to the court (Nadia’s flipping off a judge actually seemed adequate to the situation). Besides, there appeared a hoax "letter from Poroshenko,” given to Savchenko by her controversial lawyer Mark Feygin, which was obviously aimed at discrediting her. It is possible that the trial of Nadia Savchenko will destroy the remnants of Western illusions about the possibility of a civilized political dialogue with Putin. There are discussions at the moment in the PACE and the European Parliament about adopting a so-called "Savchenko list," a sanction paper which would include her tormentors.
Petro Poroshenko visited Turkey, where he used the opportunity for an intensive dialogue at the top level. There is a natural rapprochement between Kyiv and Ankara today, catalyzed by Russia’s actions. Poroshenko and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to join efforts in the process of de-occupation of Crimea. No less promising may become the creation of a free trade area between the two countries. By the way, Turkey’s experience on its very long way to the EU may also come in handy for Ukraine. Ukrainian president did not miss the opportunity to meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who noted that the Church of Constantinople is the parent church for Ukraine.
The European Commission has proposed to abolish visas for Georgia at the beginning of the summer, which once again reminded about the complexities of Ukrainian Euro-integration process. Unfortunately, the times when Ukraine was an informal favorite of “Eastern Partnership" have sunk into oblivion. Today the Verkhovna Rada and the Cabinet of Ministers must finish their homework in an emergency pace, without trying to cheat, in a harmful scholastic habit. It is a real shame that most representatives of Ukraine’s political elite do not understand, how real is the status of "gray zone" for Ukraine.
Perhaps the position of Barack Obama, expressed in an interview with The Atlantic, will help Kyiv authorities pull themselves together. The U.S. president admitted that Ukraine is a core interest of Russia, not the U.S. It is unlikely that this means that Washington refuses to support Kyiv, however it will not jump head over feet for Ukraine. So, like most of the other countries in this troubled competitive world, Ukraine must rely solely on itself.