Nuland's visit to Moscow: there is no breakthrough, dialogue continues
Today, a two-day visit of the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to Russia has ended.
She met with the Russian presidential adviser Vladislav Surkov yesterday. As Victoria Nuland said, they discussed the strengthening of security in the east of Ukraine, and other aspects of implementation of the Minsk agreements. "Yesterday, we has a detailed discussion of all aspects of the Minsk talks, how we will be able to strengthen security, improve the access of the OSCE, progress in the political commitments, including the preparation for the elections in Donbass," RIA Novosti quoted her as saying.
She assured that Washington is willing to resolve the conflict in the south-east of Ukraine as quickly as possible. At the same time, she stressed that the US will not recognize the elections in Donbass, if they will be held outside the framework of the Minsk agreements. The diplomat also expressed confidence that implementation of the agreements will have a positive impact on relations between the US and Russia.
Today, Victoria Nuland met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov. They discussed issues of bilateral relations.
"I'm going home after a constructive round of talks. This is very important to maintain talks, try to solve the problems together," she summed up.
According to the press-secretary of the US Embassy, Will Stevens, Assistant Secretary of State visited Moscow to discuss new political initiative on the settlement in Ukraine. "Nuland's new proposal concerns the situation in Ukraine, in particular access of the OSCE observers to the country's eastern regions. The OSCE must directly participate in the preparation for elections, which will be held in Donbass. The US has repeatedly expressed concern over the fact that the OSCE representatives are currently extremely limited in their actions in eastern Ukraine. Sometimes they are even attacked. This should not happen," gazeta.ru quotes him as saying.
Stevens added that the representatives of Russian authorities reacted to the US initiative positively.
In an interview to Vestnik Kavkaza, the president of the National Strategy Institute Mikhail Remizov reminded that in the foreign policy department of the United States, Victoria Nuland "is responsible for the Ukrainian direction and, obviously, has quite significant influence on the real policy, because in general, as I understand, the US diplomatic functionaries, who are responsible for their regions, have a greater autonomy than our diplomats." "They have a greater impact on policy," he said.
Speaking about possible goals of her visit to Moscow, the expert suggested that "the Obama administration may be interested in showing some result in Ukraine before leaving."
He did not rule out the possibility that Nuland could continue consultations, initiated at the meeting of presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia, held on May 16th in Vienna with the participation of foreign ministers of Russia and the United States. "As I understand, Russia's and the United States' positions on Karabakh are much closer than on Ukraine," he noted.
According to experts, this visit "is not significant for the Russian foreign policy."
Senior researcher at the Center for European Studies of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Science Vladimir Olenchenko also urged to not overestimate the importance of Victoria Nuland's visit to Russia. "I think her visit is not that important for the Secretary of State John Kerry. He is constantly in contact with our Minister of Foreign Affairs, they have, in my opinion, great psychological contacts. At the same time, there are constantly certain issues that require detailization. And as I understand, the task, that Kerry set for Nuland, was to work out certain specific details. With all due respect to her and her status, it is just a working visit of one of the functionaries," he said.