Translated from Russian

Grain of Salt, because from Pravda site, but their perspective is telling.  Trump is theirs, not ours.   He is restrained only by Congress.



“Big deal” Putin-Trump: Donbass in exchange for sanctions

Poroshenko summoned to “lookout” in Washington

In the morning on Monday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko went to America on an official visit. This was reported by his press secretary Svyatoslav Tsegolko . The program “look” of the Ukrainian leader in Washington is extensive: in addition to meeting with US President Donald Trump , she includes talks with the head of the State Department Rex Tillerson and vice-president Michael Pence .

According to analysts, Poroshenko was called “on the carpet” so that Trump could personally clarify the situation in Ukraine before talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the margins of the G20 summit in Hamburg in July. There are signs that the US is going to offer Russia a “big bargain”, which will include the Ukrainian question.

The following facts speak about the preparation for exchange.

Before Poroshenko’s visit was announced, Rex Tillerson made a landmark statement. Speaking at a hearing at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives of the US Congress, he called the situation of the settlement of the conflict in Donbass outside Minsk-2 possible without the implementation of the Minsk agreements as they were registered in February 2015.

Earlier Tillerson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that it was not Kyiv that did not execute Minsk-2, and Moscow did not adhere to its obligations, and the best way to settle the situation would be “withdrawal of Russia” from the Donbass.

Now, according to experts, Putin can offer to stop supporting the Donbass in exchange for a “big deal” with the West. In this case, it is supposed to be arranged so that the Russian leader does not lose face.

It is not excluded that within the framework of this plan Poroshenko at the end of last week announced: the presidential administration is preparing a bill on “reintegration of the occupied territories of Donbass”. According to the newspaper Kommersant, it provides for the cessation of the “anti-terrorist operation” (ATO) and the “peaceful reintegration” of the Donbass. To launch the process of rapprochement with the people’s republics, the authors of the document are even supposedly ready to change the legal status of the “occupied territories”. As the newspaper emphasizes, the deputies in the parliament will start consideration of the document just at the moment when Poroshenko will go to America.

And then the question arises: will Putin agree to a “big deal”? Yes, the Kremlin is unlikely to accept the prospect of making the Donbas a bargaining chip in the bargaining with Trump. On the other hand, in the hands of the White House there is an effective lever of pressure on Moscow in the form of a bill on serious tightening of the sanctions regime prepared by the Senate.

What is behind Poroshenko’s visit to the US, is a “big deal” possible?

“The” big deal “between the United States and Russia is now impossible,” said political analyst, director of the Institute for Political Studies Sergei Markov . “Trump can not pursue an independent policy toward Moscow, and the US political establishment does not have a consolidated position on the” big deal “issue.

Another thing is that the pro-Western part of the Russian elite is dreaming of a “big deal” that would include the Ukrainian question. In addition, this term is used by opponents of Trump, accusing him of business approaches to international politics.

– If there is no question of a “big deal”, why does Poroshenko go to Washington?

“Trump is insured in this way.” The American leader fears that if he meets with Putin without preliminary talks with Poroshenko, he will undergo a new attack from his opponents. If not for this circumstance, Poroshenko’s visit to the United States would not have taken place.

At the same time, one must understand: the current visit of the president of Ukraine can have completely different content.

The first and simplest option is a purely protocol meeting. Poroshenko will be able to demonstrate that adopted in the White House – this is extremely important for him. And Trump can show that he does not abandon his Ukrainian puppets.

The second option is more complicated. Perhaps Trump would like to see Poroshenko closer. In this case, the Ukrainian president will get a good chance to promote the agenda of “unflagging”. I note that Petro Poroshenko has a reputation as a politician who knows how to persuade partners. Now he can try his talents on Trump.

Finally, the third option is possible: the parties will discuss what the US participation in Ukrainian affairs can be.

The Americans rightly believe that they achieved a major success in Ukraine – they imposed a tough anti-Russian regime on it. But today in Washington are dissatisfied with the fact that America bears too great a cost from direct participation in Ukrainian affairs. In addition to financial costs, there are political costs for the White House from cooperation with the neo-Nazi regime. Far from everyone in the US – especially among Jewish taxpayers – agrees with such cooperation.

– How is America going to solve this problem?

– The US tends to exit Ukraine. The problem is that you have to transfer control over the “unreliable” in this case. In my opinion, initially the Americans planned to completely transfer the Ukrainian settlement to Russia and Germany. However, the talks on May 2 between Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel convincingly showed that Moscow and Berlin are not able to find a compromise on the Ukrainian issue.

Now, it is not excluded, the US agrees to a sharp centralization of power in the hands of the president of Ukraine to maintain stability in the country. In fact, the establishment of an “unflagging” dictatorship. In this scenario, Poroshenko is the No. 1 candidate for the role of the Ukrainian Pinochet. Perhaps, for this, he was summoned to Washington for a “lookout.”

– Poroshenko got the opportunity to talk in detail with the Americans about the problems of settlement in the Donbass, and bring them to the point of view of Kiev, – said Nikolai Topornin , ex-director of the Information Office of the Council of Europe, lecturer at the Department of European and Constitutional Law of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations . – This gives the Ukrainian president a tangible advantage. It is necessary to think, Trump before the meeting with Putin will formulate for itself a clear position on Ukraine, and will do it just on the basis of the views of Peter Poroshenko.

The basis of this position is really known from Tillerson’s words. The head of the US Department of State noted the ineffectiveness of the Minsk agreements, and stated that since the agreements are not being implemented for three years, it makes sense to talk about possible measures of settlement outside the Minsk format.

It was after this that rumors began circulating in Ukraine about the imminent adoption of a bill on the “reintegration of the occupied territories of Donbass”. We are talking about the completion of “ATO”, and the introduction of martial law in the front-line zone. Thus, to control the situation in these areas will not be the SBU, which is the main organizer of “ATO”, and military services. According to Kiev, this will mean qualitative changes that will contribute to the normalization of the situation.

In general, Ukraine is trying to consolidate the initiative in the settlement in the Donbass. According to my information, Kiev made significant efforts to get Poroshenko’s meeting with Trump just prior to the G20 summit, and now regards it as a diplomatic victory.

However, knowing Trump, knowing how unpredictable he is and how weak he is in settling in the Donbass, it is unlikely that during the visit Poroshenko will be able to get something substantial from the Americans. The United States has already lowered the level of support for the “unreliable”, and will not raise it, despite all the persuasions and promises of Petro Poroshenko.

Andrey Polunin


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