Vitaliy Portnikov: the Kremlin wants to see Ukraine’s collapse


Opinion, War in Donbas

Translated by: Christine Chraibi
After the Ukrainian delegation in Minsk agreed to the notorious “Steinmeier Formula”, we were left with a lot more questions than answers… even though some answers can be given today, without Volodymr Zelenskyy.

The fact that Ukraine agrees to Russian terms and conditions so that a Zelenskyy-Putin meeting can be organized – but, the actual implementation of this formula was subject to Russia’s condition and nothing else – deprives Ukraine of its subjectivity in negotiations with Russia and turns Ukraine into a subject of discussion… and this despite the fact that all the other “Normandy format” countries retain this subjectivity.

All this is happening against the backdrop of Zelenskyy’s weakened foreign policy. Let’s stop kidding ourselves! The Trump scandal has turned the Ukrainian president into an object of derision, mockery and daily scrutiny. Moreover, there is no point for European leaders to support a man who is ready to throw them under the bus at the first phone call. The situation with Trump should have forced Zelenskyy to wait a bit before accepting Putin’s terms, as well as the meeting, where we will see both Putin, who looks down on Zelenskyy, and Merkel and Macron, whom both Trump and Zelenskyy offended. However, the Ukrainian president has not bothered to stop and think about his situation.

The meeting in the “Normandy format” will not solve anything, just as the Minsk negotiations have never actually resolved anything. Is Zelenskyy ready to capitulate before Putin – that is, will he go for a fictitious and partial restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity (no mention of Crimea) while Russian control over the Donbas is actually maintained and strengthened? He states that he will not proceed this way. If so, Zelenskyy should ask himself a very simple question: is Putin ready to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity by ensuring the departure of his own troops and mercenaries, and enabling the restoration of Ukrainian control over these territories?

So far, the Kremlin has not moved in this direction. But, if Putin is not ready to do so, will Zelenskyy agree to the Kremlin’s terms and conditions simply because there is no other way to end the war, fulfill his promises to the voters and secure the sale of his television products to the Russian market? Does Zelenskyy understand that his agreement to Putin’s terms could lead to the destabilization of Ukraine and definitely not to the fulfillment of such conditions?

In fact, this is what the Kremlin wants… and it is quite logical. In order to legitimize the occupation of Crimea and revive the Russian empire, there is no better way than to work steadily towards the collapse and ruin of Ukraine.

Today, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has taken a very big step towards turning our country’s president into a tool that will enable Ukraine’s ultimate collapse.

Translated by: Christine Chraibi
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