Denazification and demilitarization remain the main and persistent goals of Russia
After several weeks of negotiations in video mode, representatives of Russia and Ukraine finally met in person. On Tuesday, March 29, tete-a-tete negotiations were held with the participation of Vladimir Medinsky and David Arakhamia in the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul. Initially, it was announced that the conversation would last two days, but by the evening the parties announced progress and dispersed. For the first time, the Ukrainian side formulated its proposals on paper, which will go to the table of Russian President Putin. Only after studying, the position on them will be announced. MK talked to the president of the Minchenko Consulting communications holding, political scientist Yevgeny Minchenko, to find out how far the parties have progressed towards achieving a complete end to the conflict.
– The negotiations have not been completed yet and there are no results at the moment, there are only proposals voiced by the Ukrainian side. And this time they are put on paper. The position of the Russian side was not announced. We have a framework that consists of demilitarization and denazification. Both Medinsky and Peskov confirmed today that these demands remain. Further – the question of negotiations, how exactly this should be implemented. We have heard about two moves by Russia towards a meeting, namely the possibility of a meeting between Putin and Zelensky, but only after the initialing of the treaty by the foreign ministers. The second is the reduction of military activity in the Kiev and Chernihiv directions.
– In fact, the main forces are being transferred to the key Donetsk front. Mariupol has not yet been taken, the grouping of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Donetsk region has not yet been defeated. Therefore, I think that the process is still going on, military operations have not been stopped. People who, after yesterday's statements by Vladimir Medinsky, began to say that everything is gone and Minsk-2 is waiting for us, are not quite right. I repeat, no decisions have been made; in fact, this is a regrouping of Russian troops. All formulations come from the fact that Zelensky and his team are in a difficult position. Literally recently, one of the members of the delegation was killed without any explanation. (Denis Kireev was part of the delegation at the first round of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations in Belarus on the Pripyat River. According to one of the versions, he was killed by members of the Security Service of Ukraine during his arrest. According to official same data, he died while performing a special task. – Ed.) Therefore, I think the members of the delegation are simply afraid for their lives.
– It is difficult to say about this conversation. I'm also interested in where Arakhamia's cap went? (David Arakhamia, head of the Servant of the People faction in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, was criticized more than once for wearing a cap at all official negotiations. He came to the conversation with Medinsky without a headdress, which caused the appearance of a lot of versions of the reasons.  ;- Ed.) I think there is still a long and difficult process ahead, both military and negotiating. At least the Ukrainian side has begun to formulate at least something, some of its positions, voicing the contours of the future. This is positive. Just a few months ago, they said that the course on joining NATO is a constant, military bases in Ukraine are a definite thing. Now they have moved away from this rhetoric. But the main question now is the inability of Ukraine to negotiate. It is possible to agree. And the question of the implementation of these agreements in the future. We already have the sad example of the Minsk agreements, so the mechanisms for implementing the agreements are important.
– The question is, within what borders to accept Ukraine. If we are talking about potential membership in the EU, and I think that the likelihood of this is higher than it was a year ago, since Ukrainophilia and a guilt complex have been pumped up very strongly in Europe. I do not rule out that at some point, in order to implement the EU accession plan, it would be easier for Ukraine to reconsider its borders, to recognize the current reality. Entering into a situation where a significant part of the territory is controlled by Russia looks rather strange.
– Yes, we are talking about it. But it is important for our negotiators to think about the wording. For example, there is neutral Sweden, which is militarized in such a way that most European countries can only envy it. It has a powerful military-industrial complex, which, among other things, supplies weapons for export. Moreover, there is another nuance that is worth paying attention to. Vladimir Medinsky announced that there will be demilitarized zones where there can be no presence of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but only law enforcement agencies. There are certain risks here. One has to be very careful with this wording, as it contains loopholes. Who prevents Ukraine from pumping heavy weapons into the structures of the Ministry of Internal Affairs? This formal limitation can be easily bypassed, it is necessary to think about the control system. Look at Japan, they don't formally have an army, but lately they've been pumping up their so-called self-defense forces. Accordingly, when there are people armed with small arms and there are heavy weapons, the question arises: is this not an army?
– Nobody will tell you that. The process is non-linear, there are many circumstances that even a supercomputer cannot calculate.