There will be no war between Russia and Ukraine
Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky expressed their commitment to the Minsk Agreements, emphasizing common desire to establish sustainable and comprehensive architecture of trust and security in Europe based on the OSCE principles. In order to achieve this, settlement of the conflict in Ukraine is one of several important steps.
Yesterday, meeting’s results were discussed by chairman of the Federation Council Commission on Information Policy and Media Relations Alexey Pushkov: “There's a difference between situation when people communicate with each other, talk, discuss all issues and when they look at each other through the rifle slot. The presence of Merkel and Macron plays a huge role, because now Zelensky must comply with at least some parts of arrangements. The next step is providing special status, exchanging hostages. Situation is moving towards negotiations, compared to previous situation of ultimatums and accusation, when Ukraine and Russia were on the verge of military conflict during Poroshenko's reign. We managed to avoid military conflict and Paris confirmed this. So we can see positive developments," he said.
Regarding Russia's position, according to Pushkov, there are obviously less tensions that prevailed in relations with Ukraine for three years: “So far we have limited partnership with Kiev, but this is a positive point. It's clear that there will be no war between Russia and Ukraine. But progress on the issue of Donbass is a very serious topic. The results of Paris meeting suggest certain progress, but Kiev is pretty slow when it comes to taking steps that could enable it to begin rapprochement with the Donbass. Donbass already lives in a different reality, there's generation of people who don't view themselves as part of Ukraine, who received Russian passport, and who cannot imagine that Ukrainian language will be the state language in the Donbass, they just don't know it at all. Kiev considers Donbass mainly as a field of confrontation with Russia, and not as a territory with people who need to be drawn back to Ukraine when it comes to economic, social and cultural space. I believe that's the biggest mistake that Kiev made," he noted.
Meanwhile, according to Alexei Pushkov, there's an international agreement that says that transfer of the border will be carried out within the framework of special status of Donbass and after free elections in the territory of Donbass, and nothing will be done before that. “Zelensky’s position: give us control over the border, and then we will give special status and hold elections. But it’s obvious that as soon as Ukrainian side has control over the border, it will try to send its troops there and either civil conflict and military operations will begin or this region will be cleansed and Kiev will reject Minsk Agreements as unnecessary. That's why the border clause is the key one here. Ukraine’s lack of control over the border is the only guarantee that Donbass will be given special status and that there will be real elections. "
“The document that was adopted at the Paris meeting ensures minimal steps. I think that we will move this way: there will be no attempts by three parties to impose something on Russia; or attempts by Moscow, Paris and Berlin to impose something on Ukraine. Sides will follow the principle of minimum interference, even if there will be very small amount of agreements," Pushkov said.