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Mikhail Pogrebinsky: United States wants either to convince the Donbass self-defenders to capitulate or to provoke Putin to send troops to the region

Mikhail Pogrebinsky. Photo: russia-reborn.ru

The G7 leaders have completed their conference in Schloss Elmau. According to the White House Spokesman Josh Earnest, almost half of the German meeting of Obama and Merkel was dedicated to Ukraine. EADaily  has asked Director of the Kiev Center for Political Studies and Conflictology Mikhail Pogrebinsky to comment on the results of the Elmau summit.

The G7 leaders have made no loud statements about their support for Ukraine. Why?

 - Instead, they have made “quiet” statements. They have even promised to form a high-ranking group of support for the reforms Ukraine is implementing. But they have taken no real steps to settle the crisis that country is facing.

In fact, nobody expected any breakthroughs from the meeting. Obama’s position is well known: the only one to blame for any escalation in Ukraine is Russia and its leader Putin. The Americans also keep blaming the Russians for the deadlock in the Minsk process but they say nothing about the Ukrainians’ reluctance to negotiate with the Donetsk and Lugansk authorities and their ultimatums that they will negotiate only when the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics capitulate and send legitimate representatives. In other words, there will be no negotiations as it is clear that there will be no capitulation.

They in the US Department of State either ignore deaths of peaceful civilians in Donbass and Horlivka or just say that Kiev has the right to protect its territorial integrity. Obviously, all G7 leaders are equal, but the most equal one is the US president. So, it was clear that the Elmau conference would bring no changes in the G7 attitude. Whatever happens, the G7 leaders would hardly wish to become initiators of a new big war in Donbass. So, they were not very harsh towards the Kremlin. As long as the Americans have a chance to provoke the Russians to send troops to Donbass, they will try to use it. They need irresistible proofs of Russia’s “aggression” as the world is skeptical of most of what Obama says. Those informed perfectly realize that had Russian troops actually been present in Donbass, the Ukrainian army had been destroyed.

So, Obama’s task is either to convince the Donbass self-defenders and Russia (by means of sanctions or threats) to capitulate or to provoke Putin to recognize the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and send troops there.

Obama and Merkel have softened their rhetoric with respect to Russia. What happened?

- Obama has not softened anything. He has simply refrained from making his position even tougher. As before, he keeps laying groundless charges and making poorly veiled threats. As far as Merkel is concerned, for the first time ever she was not one-sided in her calls for implementing the Minsk agreements and addressed her calls to Kiev as well. Hollande said something similar. But even tough they failed to make their calls part of the final communiqué, they pronounced them during the final press conference.

The conferees did not mention Crimea. Does this mean that the G7 leaders have recognized Crimea as part of Russia or...?

- Crimea was mentioned indirectly as illegal annexation. And I see no chances that the West will change its attitude on this issue. Both the Americans and the Germans realize that Ukraine has lost Crimea for ever, but neither of them are willing to accept this. On the one hand, Crimea was not among their preconditions for the lifting of their sanctions – implementation of the Minsk protocol will be enough – but, on the other hand, nobody is going to lift the sanctions related to Crimea. Besides, there is always a chance for them in the West to say that not all of the points of the Minsk protocols have been executed. Or they may continue the strategy when Kiev refuses to execute the protocol while Washington keeps blaming Moscow for it. So, the sanctions will not only be preserved but may even be toughened.

Ukraine’s talks with creditors have failed. What will they do now?

- Kiev has grounds to believe that Washington and Berlin will save them from a default – otherwise, they would admit the failure of their Eurointegration venture in Ukraine. A few days ago Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko advised the creditors to meet on their own (she must have got tired of them!) to decide how to solve the problem of Ukraine’s debts.

What should we expect from the visit of Yatsenyuk and Jaresko to the United States?

- Yatsenyuk will talk a lot of anti-Russian crap and will certainly ask his friends to give him more money. I guess they will give some.

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