Representatives of presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky say that the expansion of the “Normandy format” negotiations to resolve the conflict in the Donbas would be among his first initiatives if he is elected president of Ukraine.
The candidate would like to invite the United States and Great Britain to participate in the negotiations. This is a nice idea since the participation of these countries could increase the pressure on Russia. However, the problem is that the format for the negotiations is not determined by Ukraine. Not even Ukraine with Germany and France. The format and enlargement of the negotiations is determined by all the participants. And that means Russia, as well.
This may come as a surprise to Zelensky’s team, but Russia and Putin also have their own interests. And the main one is the surrender of Ukraine and its return to the Russian sphere of influence. Putin even went to war with Ukraine to address this problem. And his interest will not disappear after the presidential elections. Then what is the point of enlarging the format even on the odd chance that the potential participants would agree to it?
In fact, the prospective participants may have their own considerations. The US is negotiating with Russia in a bilateral format and this format is not working. The Normandy format is not working too well either. It is clearly not in Washington’s interest to demonstrate its own diplomatic powerlessness. And it is not simple to talk about the interests of London right now: After “Brexit,” Great Britain is literally paralyzed as a result of the same “people’s power” that Zelensky wants to introduce in Ukraine.
This is why no one should harbor any illusions. The war will calm down and will flare up again but it will not disappear — the same way that Russia’s desire to recapture Ukraine will not disappear.
The main responsibility of the president of Ukraine is to resist this objective and to defend the sovereignty of the country by working together with countries that support this sovereignty. In a country at war, this is what is meant by the words “guarantor of the Constitution.”
Everything else – the fight with corruption, people power and other weighty concepts are very admirable, of course. But in the event of military defeat or political capitulation these words will have no meaning.
Because if that happens, we will live not according to Zelensky’s plan or Poroshenko’s plan but according to Putin’s plan.