The probability of the fail of the mission of Kurt Volker, the US Special Envoy to Ukraine is pretty high. Aleksey Chesnakov, the Director of Russia Center for Political Environment that is close to Vladislav Surkov, the affiliate of Vladimir Putin reported to TASS.
The expert commented on the contradictions between Volker and Surkov. According to Chesnakov, they lie in the conditions of the deployment of the UN peacekeepers in Donbas.
‘Russian side claimed at the meeting in Belgrade on October 7 that the conception of Russia is stated in the UN draft resolution, it was passed to the UN Security Council on September 5 and Russia is not ready to reconsider this conception and it is reasonable to continue the negotiations if the Russian conception is supported. It lies in the fact that the UN forces should provide the armed security to the OSCE SMM. Ukraine urged to arm the SMM observers many times. Russia never made the objections to this issue. The particular agreements of the Normandy Four were achieved in 2015 in Paris. However, the OSCE refused from the arms and explained this decision with the absence of the experience and funds. The conception of Russia is simple: the forces of the sides should be disengaged along the whole contact line and the OSCE observers defended by the UN peacekeepers should be among them. Moreover, the OSCE SMM observers will inspect the territories of the conflict on both sides of the contact line and they should be accompanied by the armed UN security’, Chesnakov said.
He added that the Americans agreed to discuss this basic conception but Volker brought the offers that contradict the Russian conception for the meeting on November 13 in Belgrade.
The biggest stumbling block is that the US insists that the UN mission should be full-scale and it should take the Russian-Ukrainian border under control. According to Chesnakov, Russia stands for the monitoring of the border and the accompaniment of the SMM by the UN forces.
Chesnakov also noted that Russia does not agree on such variant because it is afraid that Donbas will be in the stronghold. ‘The task of Ukraine that established the tough blockade is also to close Donbas from the Russian side and deprive the citizens of Donbas of the means of living. The US support Ukraine to implement this idea for unclear reasons for Russia’, he claimed and added that the monitoring of the border and blocking of the border are two different issues.
The expert also noted that Volker holds these negotiations on his own and there was no detailed discussion between the countries of the Normandy Format. ‘If Volker succeeds then France and Germany will join the success. If Volker fails then they will participate in this process more actively at the next stage. Volker has enough weak points. He very often announces the attitudes that he will rarely defend during the negotiations. He backs himself in the corner. Anyway, it is his affairs. Taking into account his pessimistic interview to Politico, Volker himself concedes the probability of the fail of his mission’, Chesnakov claimed.
As we reported earlier, the next meeting between the officials is scheduled for December. Last time Surkov and Volker met on November 13 in Belgrade. The issue of the UN peacekeeping mission was also discussed. According to Surkov, the U.S. suggestion on the mission contained 29 paragraphs, and Russian delegation “found acceptable” only three of them.