On April 6th, three former US Ambassadors to Ukraine expressed their opinion that the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the oil price war, both provide a unique chance to solve the end the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
Three of them are as follows:
- William B. Taylor, who is currently the Vice President, Strategic Stability and Security, United States Institute of Peace;
- Steven Pifer, who is currently a William Perry Research Fellow at Stanford University;
- John Herbst, who is currently the Director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council.
According to them, Washington, with its allies – Berlin, Paris and Kiev – should come forward with a proposal to lift international sanctions against Moscow if the conflict in Ukraine ceases.
Moreover, if Russia returns Crimea, “it will be possible to lift other sanctions,” the ex-ambassadors said.
“Now more than ever Russia needs a break from sanctions. Indeed, Putin used his speech to last week’s Group of 20 virtual summit conference to urge a halt to all international sanctions. He called sanctions relief “a humanitarian issue” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
However, an end to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine is apparently the only way to end sanctions, and returning Crimea even more so.
“While years of diplomacy to end the Ukraine war have stalled, a high-level push now from the United States could break that deadlock. The coronavirus crisis could provide the Kremlin a rationale to agree.”
Still, the former ambassadors do mention that the essential parts of a deal had been set out in the Minsk agreements: a cease-fire, OSCE-verified withdrawal of Russian-led forces, return of the border to Ukrainian control, local elections and some measure of decentralized decision-making for all Ukrainian administrative regions.
“To ensure security in Donbas during the process, one idea is to have joint patrols by national Ukrainian police and local police still now working in occupied Donbas. That arrangement could be overseen by the OSCE and — to help ensure fair, secure elections — should be buttressed by an international peacekeeping mission. That peacekeeping force would be authorized by the United Nations Security Council and led by a neutral nation. A key requirement would be for the Ukrainian international border with Russia to be controlled by the peacekeepers rather than, as now, Russia’s military.”
The entire article entirely disregards any actions by the Kiev side, constantly being carried out to undermine any attempts to actually establish peace, and the constant Ukrainian calls that the Minsk Agreements are impossible, unless it is allowed to first clear Eastern Ukraine from unwanted elements, which is Russians and Russian-speaking individuals, which in that case is the majority of people living there.
Moscow has maintained that such a scenario, with persecutions of people simply because they’re Russian in Donetsk and Luhansk wouldn’t be allowed. As typical for opinions and arguments such as these, the entire conduct by the Ukrainian side is entirely ignored, and the entire blame is shifted on Moscow, as they also assume that the local militias in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics are “Moscow-controlled forces”.
Separately, the European Council plans to invest 2 million euro in a project to support the EU’s mission in Russia and to promote its policies.
“The purpose of the contract is to strengthen the potential of EU public diplomacy by supporting the European Union’s representation in Russia for effective interaction with certain groups of the population, to increase the level of trust and mutual understanding between the EU and Russia, to provide a better understanding of the European Union and its policies, as well as to facilitate future cooperation,” the document which RT reviewed said.
“The focus of the contract will be on the implementation in Moscow and other cities of Russia of various activities in the field of public diplomacy, educational events and the organization of international exchange,” the document explained.
Earlier it became known about the plans of the European Commission to allocate 3.5 million euro to promote EU initiatives in Ukraine. In particular, it was planned to create communication campaigns designed for the Ukrainian audience, as well as to analyze their impact on citizens.
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