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U.S. is a party to Ukraine conflict: interview with Konstantin Bondarenko

Konstantin Bondarenko. Photo: news-in-ua.net

On June 2 in Minsk, another round of talks on the settlement of the Ukraine conflict was held. It were uneasy talks that revealed a range of procedural discrepancies, Denis Pushilin, the authorized representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) at the Minsk negotiations said on the heels of the meeting of the tripartite contact group. Konstantin Bondarenko, the head of the Ukrainian Politics Fund, comments on the situation in an interview with EADaily.

Not only Europe and Russia, but also the parties to the Ukraine conflict have accepted the Minsk Agreements. Nevertheless, there is still no peace in Donbass. What is the reason?

- Actually, neither of the parties implements the Minsk Agreements. The reason is that these documents lack a detailed mechanism of implementation. Each party thinks it has no obligation to make the first step. Therefore, these agreements are, unfortunately, nothing but declarations.

Although “president of peace” Petro Poroshenko has repeatedly said that he was ready to implement the Minsk Agreements comprehensively, the Supreme Rada does not show zeal for it…

- I suppose, a certain political group will emerge in the Ukrainian parliament soon to harshly criticize and demand denouncing of the agreements that were made in Minsk on February 12. So far, some parliamentarians have come out with such an initiative. By autumn, the parliamentarians whose political rating is falling record low will try to regain popularity through such a populist measure.

What will Poroshenko do in that case? After all, he is the guarantor of not only the Constitution, but also of the implementation of Ukraine’s commitments…

- The president in such a situation will have to choose whether to stay with the “party of war” or with his people and Europe.

The June 2 enlarged negotiations of the tripartite contact group on the settlement of the situation in Ukraine have not resulted in any specific decisions, though they were called “constructive.” What will happen next?

- The next meetings of the contact group on Ukraine are scheduled for June 16 and 23 in Minsk. I hope that the next talks will find effective measures to de-escalate the bloody conflict. So far, the negotiating parties have not gone beyond declarations. It was good news when they suggested working on specific sectors and directions, but now we see no progress, unfortunately. Shelling resumed, peaceful residents are dying, and what is most terrible, innocent children are dying too.

Speaking of the shelling, who and why has resumed it?

- I think both the parties are responsible for it. If the peace process still gets nowhere, it is quite probable that both the self-proclaimed republics and Ukraine are responsible for it. Both the parties seek to varnish their reputation, but in the current situation, there is no such thing as right or wrong, because both parties are wrong.

The Kremlin has repeatedly insisted that Kiev negotiates directly with the leaderships of the DPR and LPR…

- I think it is inevitable. I do not see how this crisis can be resolved otherwise. It is simply necessary, though some radical Ukrainian forces are against it.

The United States has repeatedly suggested - both openly and hinting – to let it to the Normandy Four…

- First and foremost, no one can hold U.S. from joining it. Second, I think, this is as it should be. Of course, U.S. should have come out with such initiative yet six months ago. It is obvious that the crisis cannot be resolved without U.S. that is inherently a party to the conflict. Therefore, without U.S. it is a wrong format of talks. In fact, Russia has suggested involving the United States into the negotiation format a good many times. Otherwise, I think, no solution acceptable to all the parties can be found.

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