Saturday, May 30, 2015

Diplomacy To Settle The Ukraine Crisis Is Failing

A woman with a boy looks at a tank as it drives through the settlement Khutor Chkalova on its way to the Russian military training ground ‘Kuzminsky’ on the Russians side of the border with Ukraine, May 26, 2015. REUTERS/Maria Tsvetkova

Lucian Kim, Reuters: Vladimir Putin is not planning annexation of Ukraine enclaves, but diplomacy is flailing

Karl-Georg Wellmann, a representative in the German parliament, flew to Moscow Sunday night on a behind-the-scenes mission to help break the deadlock in eastern Ukraine. But when he landed at Sheremetyevo Airport, border officials denied him entry, without any explanation, until 2019. Wellmann, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, had to spend the night in a transit lounge and was escorted onto the first flight home the next morning.

Wellmann raised a storm in German and Russian media, and Merkel’s government lodged an official complaint with the Kremlin. Although he was known as a critic of Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict, Wellmann said he had been invited by Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s committee on foreign affairs, and Sergei Glazyev, an adviser to President Vladimir Putin. He didn’t have plans to meet with Russian opposition leaders.

WNU Editor: Lucian Kim's opening remarks in her Reuter's post on how the the back channels of German diplomacy are clogging up when it comes to Russia and Ukraine is very revealing to me on how messed-up diplomacy has become between Russia and the West. Even during the height of the Cold War there were multiple back-channels .... today .... I would have to say that there are none. As to the Reuters post itself .... the typical "Russia bad, Eastern Ukraine rebels bad, Poroshenko is trying his best to save the situation, its all Putin's fault" type of analysis.

Update: A few months ago I asked some former Russian colleagues if it made sense for Russia to do an annexation of eastern Ukraine as they did with Crimea .... their answer .... they thought the whole idea was crazy. Crimea is not Donetsk and Luhansk .... especially now. The entire region has been destroyed, and to return it to some form of stability with a functional economy would take tens of billions of dollars and years of reconciliation ... something that no one in Moscow is interested in. That is why I have always said that the Russian factor in Ukraine has been exaggerated ....that this is a conflict primarily involving Ukrainians. I have also stated that the solution to the crisis in Ukraine does not go through Moscow .... it goes through Kiev and the rebel enclaves in the east. Unfortunately .... no one in Ukraine is interested in having talks and making compromises .... a year of war has hardened altitudes and positions to where we are today .... an impasse.

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