When Guns Interrupt Politicians
Talks between the member-countries of the Customs Union, the EU and Ukraine in Minsk on August 26 was another attempt of the international community to make a positive step for ceasing fire and halting a humanitarian catastrophe in the south-east of Ukraine. However, it is difficult to speak about any serious diplomatic success: the parties concerned have too different goals.
Russia, concerned about the actual presence of a hot spot along its borders, wants to see stable Ukraine. It just has to closely monitor the development of situation in the country which is suffering the gravest political crisis. In addition, Moscow understands that Ukraine's desire for European integration now requires detailed study of mechanisms for the protection of its foreign economic interests, as well as the other countries of the Customs Union. Such measures may include the cancellation of reduced tariffs for Ukrainian goods and the fight with the European re-export, delivered under the name of the Ukrainian manufacturers. Russian President Vladimir Putin told about it clearly and unequivocally.
Ukraine, meaning President Poroshenko, who is in a difficult situation and rapidly losing credit of trust in the eye of public, set his goals in the apparent support of the European Union and in the actual one of the United States. Apparently, he was trying to understand the idea of the Russian leadership in respect of Ukrainian domestic crisis and achieving to adopt his plan as a basis for resolution, providing for the closure of the Russian-Ukrainian border, while desperately hoping for his troops, whose martial successes and normal supply support are of no question lately.
The European Union is trying to derive not only the political benefits, demonstrating peacekeeping efforts, but also to allay fears concerning Russian gas supplies to its customers.
However, not everyone was satisfied with the outcome of the talks. Vladimir Putin, evaluating the results of the meetings overall positively, including those with Petro Poroshenko, noted that the agreement on resuming the dialogue with Kiev on the gas issue was achieved. In addition, he announced his decision to continue consultations in Minsk within the contact group on Ukraine, having warned about the strong desire of Russia to protect its own economy with the implementation of the agreement between Ukraine and the EU on the association.
President Poroshenko, in his turn, said that the negotiations were very difficult, but the agreement to start consultations between the Chiefs of Defense of Russia and Ukraine as parts of the contact group to resolve the crisis was gained. However, Kiev failed to convince Moscow that it was the one responsible for what was happening in the south-east of Ukraine. It was given to understand by Vladimir Putin, commenting on possible ways to resolve the conflict: "We talked about it, talked about where it is possible and what Russia could do in order to ensure this process. We, Russia, didn't set any conditions, we can't do it, we don't have such right: this is the case of Ukraine itself, this is the case of Donetsk, Lugansk." After talks with Vladimir Putin, Poroshenko held an "analysis" in the Ukrainian Embassy in Belarus with the participation of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, European Commission Vice President Catherine Ashton, who will look forward to concrete agreements between Moscow and Kiev on gas.
The negotiations have been completed, there are plans to continue another diplomatic rounds. However, there are doubts on their early success, because there isn't the main thing - the readiness of Kiev's authorities to end the war on its own territory. The combat actions have led to the situation that hundreds of thousands of people, including women, the elderly and children are deprived of water, medicines, basic living conditions and forced to just survive. They are dying every day as a result of strikes of Ukrainian troops. And the worst thing is that in the 21st century, the systematic violation of the fundamental human right of life has become normal, and that doesn't cause a real disturbance of the international community, as it used to in other conflicts. This is a real humanitarian disaster.