The last days of March showed that negotiations within the Minsk and Normandy format continue to stall. The parties traditionally accuse each other and live in parallel dimensions, where each has its own truth and its own arguments. How to achieve peace in this situation and negotiate the parties on peace clusters – still an unanswered question.
Yesterday, the regular meeting of the TCG on Donbass began with a proposal from the head of the Ukrainian delegation Leonid Kravchuk from April 1 “to return to a full and comprehensive ceasefire in Donbass.” But a few hours later, the news spread – “Russia refused.” Of course, the direct refusal to agree on any new ceasefire regime at the official level came from the “LPNR”. Russia, positioning itself as a third party, could not accept or reject the proposal of the Ukrainian delegation. And she could only support or not support the initiative (and did not support it). The emphasis on Russia’s refusal to establish a new truce was made by our delegation in the TCG, and this is already a traditional emphasis, which was at first under Poroshenko, and under President Zelensky, entrenched in the media activity of the delegation with the arrival of Arestovich. Before that, during the period of more constructive negotiations in the same 2019, the statements were more restrained.
With what justification did the LDNR declare that they do not support Kravchuk’s initiative? Strange enough. They say that his proposal is meaningless, because no one withdrew from the previously signed agreements that entered into force on June 27, 2020. This was stated by the head of the DPR Foreign Ministry Natalya Nikonorova. According to her, this is Kiev’s reception instead of fulfilling the already existing agreements.
There is a certain logic that there is no point in announcing new measures while no one announced their withdrawal from the June 2020 agreements. But let’s speak frankly – the measures taken by the parties in June 2020 were also taken in the context of a ceasefire. However, they were needed. Because the truce was constantly broken. What was the difficulty and now to make a joint public statement on strengthening the obligations of the parties is not clear to us. At the very least, this would not give reason to declare that the enemy was preparing military provocations.
As a result, the media story looks like this: Kiev made an offer that was supported by the OSCE, but received a refusal from the “LPNR” and no support from the Russian Federation. And in the media, the OP worked out coverage of this refusal on a very large scale.
Russia, for its part, also made a number of statements, which were critical in their content, against Ukraine. Boris Gryzlov, the plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation in the TCG, said that “the political reputation of Ukraine in the negotiation process is close to zero.”
Against this background, as well as negotiations between the leaders of France, Germany and Russia, where they discussed and Donbass, phoned Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba and US Secretary of State Blinken. Where the central theme was just the Donbass. In particular, the failure to support the initiative of the Ukrainian delegation at the TCG meeting. And The New York Times, citing its sources, reports that against the background of the recent aggravation of the situation in Donbass and the pulling together of its troops by Russia to the borders of Ukraine, the combat readiness of the European Command of the US Army has been increased to the maximum level.
And there is an important point here. The resources, which, in our opinion, are close to the OP, began to launch the thesis that in the history of the conflict with the Russian Federation, Ukraine can no longer rely on Europe, biased by ties with Russia. And it should be rebuilt into a close partnership with the States. Should this be considered as preparation for the actual funeral of the “Normandy format” or strengthening of actions on attempts to introduce the United States into it?
The stakes are going up. Russia announces provocations from Ukraine in Donbass, transfers equipment to Crimea… Ukraine simplifies mobilization, launches drones Bayraktar along the border with the peninsula. The US is showing engagement.
The next TCG meeting is scheduled for April 14th. You and I can only hope that the phrase “When the arguments end, the guns start to speak” will not acquire relevance for Ukraine.