Poroshenko has cleverly blocked Putin while satisfying West, Piontkovsky says


Analysis & Opinion, Politics

With his constitutional amendments on local self-administration, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has blocked Vladimir Putin’s plan to force Kyiv to allow Moscow-occupied regions to act as part of Ukraine, Andrey Piontkovsky says, while satisfying the needs of Kyiv’s Western allies to declare that Kyiv has fulfilled the Minsk accords.

Andrey Piontkovsky, prominent Russian scientist, political writer and analyst (Image: kasparov.ru)

Andrey Piontkovsky, prominent Russian scientist, political writer and analyst (Image: kasparov.ru)

Those attacking Poroshenko for his position are either “sincerely misguided … or provocateurs who are trying to organize a third Maidan which is the dream of Putin and the Russian authorities,” the Russian commentator says.

Anyone who examines carefully what Poroshenko has proposed–within the limits of the options he has–will understand that his proposed constitutional changes do not legitimate the Moscow-orchestrated “DNR” and “LNR” as part of Ukraine but rather have the opposite effect, Piontkovsky says.

It is important to recognize that these constitutional changes do not mention either entity, speaking instead of “particular regions of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.” Nor do the Minsk accords, and “such a terminological tussle” around either the constitutional changes or the Minsk texts is “in principle” more or less useless.

The Minsk agreements “will never be realized,” Piontkovsky points out, because “the Russian Federation will never fulfill their two key points: the withdrawal of foreign forces from the Donbas … and the transfer of the border to the control of Ukraine.” Given that, he says, he hopes “Ukraine will never fulfill” the Minsk agreements as Putin interprets them.

What the Kremlin wants is to insert “Lugandon” [slang term for the combined “LNR” and “DNR” entity – Ed.] like “a cancerous tumor into the political field of Ukraine,” both to force Kyiv to finance the Russian occupied regions and to allow representatives from those regions to sit in the Verkhovna Rada and sabotage Ukraine’s reforms and moves to the West.

In this situation, Poroshenko simultaneously has to avoid doing anything that threatens the territorial integrity of Ukraine as agreeing to Putin’s demands would while not doing anything that might cost Kyiv its Western allies who want to believe in the Minsk agreements which they helped to write.

“Ukraine is fighting with a superpower which has a much more powerful army than the Ukrainian one and also nuclear weapons and an enormous economic potential,” Piontkovsky says. “Ukraine cannot win this war without an alliance with the civilized world, with the EU and the US.”

France and Germany, “who were the sponsors of the Minsk agreements do not want to recognize that these accords are meaningless, except for the point concerning a cease fire.” And consequently, Poroshenko has had to find a formulation which keeps them happy without sacrificing Ukraine’s integrity.

The “worse expectations” of Poroshenko’s “radical opponents” have not been realized, the Russian analyst says. “The EU and the US did not put pressure on Kyiv to take real steps to include the occupied territories in the body of Ukraine. On the contrary, immediately after the Verkhovna Rada’s acceptance of [these] changes,” the West reacted by saying “’fine, Ukraine has fulfilled the Minsk agreements. Let’s now call on Russia to fulfill its promises.’”

“This is a diplomatic struggle,” Piontkovsky continues, “which Kyiv is conducting in a sophisticated and successful way.”

Ukrainians cannot expect the West to do everything they would like as shown by the West’s overly-restrained response to Putin’s Anschluss of Crimea, but over the past year, the West has moved in a positive pro-Ukrainian position, the Russian analyst says. And it is important that Kyiv not lose the West’s support.

Because of that Western support, Ukraine is in a far better position than it was a year ago, and Russia is in a far worse one. Moscow has stopped talking about “the Russian world” and “Novorossiya.” Instead, “Putin is thinking not about victory over Ukraine” but rather about how he can insert the “DNR” and “LNR” into Ukraine.

That in itself is a great victory for Ukraine and a reflection of the clever policy of Poroshenko, Piontkovsky adds.

Asked why he is so much more optimistic than he was earlier, the Russian analyst says that he is encouraged precisely because Putin has “lost this war” by his overreaching, his assertion that he is fighting not just Ukraine but the West, and his efforts at nuclear blackmail to get his way.

“NATO and above all the US has responded quietly to the Kremlin: ‘We understood your blackmail attempt. We will respond to it. We will defend the Baltic countries. [And] we are not afraid of your nuclear blackmail.’” And the West’s new course is “not simply words.” There are soldiers and tanks on the ground.

As a result, Moscow has changed its tune. Now, it is not talking about taking all of Ukraine and standing up to the rest of the world. Instead, it is talking now “only about the peaceful coexistence of the Russian Federation and the West, about saving ‘Putin’s face,’ and about how the master of the Kremlin will behave at the UN General Assembly.”

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Dirk Smith


    • Dagwood Bumstead

      I respectfully disagree. It would be most unwise for Kyiv to count on any meaningful western support at all, especially from Obama, Merkelain and Hollandier; all of them are useless. The only plus is that Obama will be gone in 16 months and his successor will not be as friendly to Moscow, but Merkelain and Hollandier will still be there. Their possible successors won’t be an improvement; in France Sarkozy and Marine Le Pen are waiting in the wings and both are very Moscow-friendly. The situation in Germany is no better with nearly all German politicians being either Putinversteher or, worse, Putinknutschler.
      Kyiv’s only real friends are in Warsaw, Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius.

      • George Evans

        of course the European Governments are lukewarm…Europe is paying the price not only for the latest Ukraine adventure…they are a picking up the tab for the US adventures in Libya and Syria…..

        the “swarm” of refugees (as enunciated by Cameron) are dscending on Europe in what will soon be millions….

        Merkel has a biological “out’ but when will those supine dupes in France and UK show their b$lls…and insist the US takes their share of the refugees…not just Europe,Canada and Australia….

        don,t hold your breath

        • Mikronos

          And to think that, played right, Europe and North America could have been flooded with ‘dignified’ Ukrainians. Pity.

          They’re finding it harder to get a day pass to sell their smokes and booze ration in Poland.

  • Murf

    I agree completely.
    The “Grand Master” chess player has been out maneuvered by the Chocolate King.
    Poroshenko is way to smart not know walking into the Rada that he didn’t have the votes to the pass the bill.
    Ukraine is fighting war with a far more powerful nuclear opponent. this has to be handled delicately by ALL involved.

    The West can not let this get out of control. For all their bluster Russia can not do a war with the west.
    Ukraine can not fight an all out attack by Russia so they need to west to “level the playing field”
    So when Putin pushes for autonomy by threatening an offensive the West needs to slow things down by pushing for decentralization.
    Poro can’t say no BUT he doesn’t have to say yes either.
    The vote failed to get the 2/3 needed for a constitutional change. a dumb kid tossed a hand grenade into the crowed and part of the coalition walked out. Thus the decentralization bill is dead on arrival. Poro is off the hook.He says “Hay! Democracy in action.” The West said; “good nuff”.
    Putin is sitting back wondering what the fuk happened.
    He can’t threaten to escalate now because he has to send his conscripts home and the autumn rains turn the battlefield a massive bowl of Jello pudding. Also Ukraine won’t demobilize the third wave until Oct. Till then Ukraine has the man power advantage.
    It will be late Nov before large scale operations can begin again.
    By then the Russian economy will be that much weaker. The UA army will be that much more modernized.
    Score another round for Poroshenko and Ukraine.

    • Mikronos

      Now you know why that long-overdue second ‘tranche’ of the $14 billion IMF loan hasn’t appeared yet. Nor those Euro visas.

      Not that EUkraine needs money or visas, things are going great!

  • Dean Venture

    Putin took a bite out of Ukraine, and now he’s going to choke on it. Perhaps it will be the end of him.

  • Michel Cloarec

    Impressed by P. Poroshenko ! He managed to do a good job ! Only hope that he will manage to restrain putin and the puppets in luhansk and donetsk .

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      I don’t think anyone can restrain the dwarf, least of all Poroshenko. So far he has considered it to his advantage to wait and hopefully wear Kyiv down, wait for its economy to collapse, protests to destabilise the Ukraine, Minsk II to be implemented to his advantage. But if none of these happen quickly enough he will renew the offensive, regardless of losses or actions taken by the EU and US. The dwarf also faces a possible second war, with his troops in Syria running a real risk of being dragged into the conflict there. Assad is his only ally in the Middle East and he can’t afford to lose Damascus. He may well try to overrun the Ukraine (possibly from Belarus as well) if Assad shows signs of crumbling, so that he can send more troops to Syria.
      He also has his own economy to consider, though I’m not sure whether he really cares about this, or even understands its importance.

      • George Evans

        your strategic sense is abysmal.bum…

        the only mob that needs to be restrained are the yanks…like an out of control rabid dog…

    • George Evans

      still lost his Russian chocolate factory,thoiugh…

      just saying…

      probably more than made up for that though….

      • Mikronos

        He’s got lots left.. safe ..and tax free …in the Caymans.

    • Mikronos

      To put in succinctly, in Ukrainian: ” Bwhaaaaaahaaaaaah, haaaaaah, haaaa!”

  • Mikronos

    The only way Porko is going to retrieve any of the tag ends of Ukraine is either through the Minsk process – as his ‘allies’ and the IMF expect him to do, or by tossing the dice and letting the militias roll again. If they win, Ukraine receives an antagonistic basket case. About the only effective thing he could do is drive the ‘russian’ population out, a la Iulia Timoshenko – with a couple of latter day Babi Yars to ‘get them moving’. This wouldn’t play well with anybody left of a gauleiter in Europe and would probably sink any dreams of a ‘dignified’ Eukraine taking its place among the civilized nations. If they lose again those militias will nail Porko’s hide to a dacha – if there are any of those left unguarded these days. .