Ukraine Monitor Articles
If anyone has doubted in recent months that the new ruling camp in Kyiv does not care about integration with NATO, as did their predecessors, now is the time to change your perspective.
Another round of trilateral talks between Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission on the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine from 2020 has ended in a fiasco. The negotiations, held on October 28 in Brussels, have failed to produce positive results.
Recent polls indicate that October marks the beginning of an inevitable decline in ratings for Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Council of Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church has officially recognised the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which was established at the end of 2018.
Oleksandr Danylyuk is no longer the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine. One of the main representatives of the reformers in Volodymyr Zelensky’s staff probably resigned because he could not accept making concessions to oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi. It is not known yet how the resignation of Danylyuk, one of the most pro-Western politicians in the ruling camp, will influence Ukrainian politics.
Delayed but finally launched. U.S. military aid to Ukraine is of great importance for Kyiv. The aid package should not have been mixed up in U.S. internal politics, however, there are indications suggesting that this is precisely what has happened, hence the delay. The U.S. military aid enables Ukraine to stand up to Russian aggression in a more effective way as well as to minimise the number of human losses in the Donbass. The arrangement can also benefit the Pentagon, which can now draw conclusions by observing how the Russians react to the U.S. equipment and weapons being used in the field.
The exchange of prisoners opened a period of intensive negotiations and possible decisions which should lead to the settlement of the conflict in Donbas. The Kremlin played with Zelensky in the case of the exchange of prisoners and now it is dragging him into another trap. Similarly as Macron.
The exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and Russia is a political victory of the Kremlin. In exchange for the captives, with 24 sailors ahead who should have been unconditionally released by Russians after the decision of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea from May 25, Kiev released spies, rebels and terrorists, including Vladimir Tzemach, a key witness in the investigation concerning MH-17. Now, it is time for another step which is the Normandy format summit. Also, in this case, one should assume that if the meeting takes place, it will bring decisions unfavourable for Ukraine. Unfortunately, led by national political calculations, Volodymyr Zelensky takes steps which are not favourable for the interest of the state.
A memorandum on energy cooperation signed on August 31 in Warsaw between the United States, Poland and Ukraine is yet another stage in the U.S. expansion of liquefied natural gas (LNG) into the Central and Eastern European markets. What seems to be a mere business plan to gas companies from the states of Texas or Louisiana is, however, of great significance for the energy security of the countries in our part of Europe. It will reduce dependence on Russian gas, and, as a result, hit the interests of Moscow, at the same time bringing Ukraine closer to the West and strengthening the status of Poland as a key U.S. ally in this part of Europe – not only in terms of the military sphere, but also the energy one.
The U.S. administration aims to block the sale of a strategically important Ukrainian engine manufacturer for aircraft and missiles to China. During his recent visit to Kyiv, John Bolton has probably warned the Ukrainians about the consequences of finalising such a transaction. The White House has already sent a warning signal, delaying the transfer of $250 million worth of military aid to Ukraine.
On August 26, at the closing press conference of the G7 summit in the city of Biarritz, President of France Emmanuel Macron announced that a meeting of the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France dedicated to the conflict in Ukraine will be held in September.
John Bolton’s two-day visit to Kyiv concerned not only U.S.-Ukrainian bilateral relations, but also the Donbass problem and certain issues of Ukraine’s domestic politics. It can only be assumed that the U.S. President’s National Security Advisor agreed on an agenda for the upcoming meeting between Donald Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, who are both to participate in the 80-anniversary celebrations of the outbreak of the Second World War in Poland.
On August 18-19, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu paid a two-day visit to Kyiv. This has been the first state visit of the head of government of the Jewish State to Ukraine in over 20 years. Aside from the fact that at present the bilateral relations between the two countries are very good, the trip was of great importance for Netanyahu especially in the context of Israeli domestic politics.
Another phone call with the Kremlin, strange words about the death of Ukrainian soldiers in the Donbass, a request addressed to the French president regarding talks in the Normandy format – all of this does not bring Ukraine closer to ending the war in the Donbass. Volodymyr Zelensky seems to be trying to seize the initiative, however, his diplomatic efforts come off as chaotic and, in fact, further the Kremlin’s political goals.