BBC, evening news, and Downing Street sources express cautious optimism that Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has opened to persuasion leading to direct talk with the Ukrainian acting government… evidence runs contrary to this optimism nonsense as Moscow doesn’t recognise the new regime in Kiev especially with Moscow is convinced that EU expansionist policy to swallow former Soviet Republics was directly behind the crisis.. the easiest way is to keep Crimea under Moscow control.
The latest spin from Downing is based on a telephone conversation intitated this morning by Prime Minister David Cameron and President Putin, which ended with only two agreed points, first the need for international community to economically support Ukraine, and second the two leaders to continue dialogue, obviously over the phone. Since Mr Putin is no exception from any other leaders who wouldn’t see eye to eye with his rivals in the west on the above two points, it is amusing how this can be interpreted as reason for optimism.
It was late this morning (9 March) that the Prime Minister has spoken to The Russian President according to 10 Downing street spokesman.
It was The Prime Minister who called the Russian. Leader to urge him to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and to support the formation of a contact group that could lead to direct talks between the governments of Russia and Ukraine, Downing Street spokesman said.
Despite the government spokesman careful wording, and the diplomatic efforts Britain is engaged in, Moscow doesn’t recognise the new regime in Kiev.
Last week our foreign secretary William Hague, alongside other European Union foreign ministers spent several hours in the French Foreign ministry in Paris with both the Ukrainian acting foreign minister Andriy Deshchytsia and the Russian opposite Sergei Lavarov spent several hours with their European counterparts in the same room but didn’t have direct conversation or shook hands since Mr Lavarov, old school career diplomat who sees diplomacy as a tool to implement foreign policy, in term designed to serve national interest., wouldn’t deviate , even tactically, from the hard-line taken by president Putin. Mr Putin known to put emphasis on symbolic gestures, signals and protocol – even photographs taken in public- of the old Soviet Union.. Hence it was important for Mr Lavarov to ignore Mr Deshchytsia which was a signal to the EU and of course to world media that Moscow stands firm in refusing to recognise the current regime in Kiev. Hence it is more of wishful thinking, on Mr a Cameron and Mr Hague’s part to think that Russian officials, in the current climate or in the near future would talk face to face with the Ukrainians.
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Prime Minister Cameron this morning made clear that we, along with our European and American partners, want to work with Russia to find a diplomatic solution to the situation in Ukraine, including Crimea according to his spokesman.
Mr Cameron emphasised that we recognise the right of all Ukrainian people to choose their future and that the elections, currently scheduled for the end of May, provide the best way to do this. The international community should work together to ensure the elections are free, fair and inclusive.
President Putin agreed that it is in all our interests to have a stable Ukraine, said No10 spokesman. Mr Putin added that Russia did want to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis and that he would discuss the proposals on the contact group with foreign Minister Lavrov tomorrow (10 March).
However this morning (Sunday 9 March) foreign secretary Hague told the BBC that ” no diplomatic options on th table will remove the Russians from Crimea.” He repeated it twice on the Marr Show.
The Prime Minister and President Putin also discussed the serious economic challenges facing Ukraine and agreed that the international community would need to provide financial support in the months ahead.
It won’t be the last conversation between the two leaders as both agreed to stay in touch on the issue in the coming days.
Mr Cameron made clear that we, along with our European and American partners, want to work with Russia to find a diplomatic solution to the situation in Ukraine, including Crimea.
He also emphasised that we recognise the right of all Ukrainian people to choose their future and that the elections, currently scheduled for the end of May, provide the best way to do this. The international community should work together to ensure the elections are free, fair and inclusive.
President Putin agreed that it is in all our interests to have a stable Ukraine. He said that Russia did want to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis and that he would discuss the proposals on the contact group with Foreign Minister Lavrov tomorrow.
The PM and President Putin also discussed the serious economic challenges facing Ukraine and agreed that the international community would need to provide financial support in the months ahead.
Both leaders agreed to stay in touch on the issue in the coming days, the prime minister spokesman said.
It wasn’t clear whether Mr Cameron discussed the referendum in a week’s time in the Crimea. They will vote yes or no on whether to break away altogether from Ukraine and region the Russian federation returning to the status quo of pre 1954 when Moscow gave the peninsula to Ukraine ( with autonomous status) when both were part of the USSR.
The referendum was debated in the Crimea parliament last week and passed with overwhelming majority.
Moscow might go along with the contact group as a go between, but unlikely to engage in direct talks with a regime it doesn’t recognise in Kiev, especially when Ukraine acting foreign minister. The new Ukranina regime continues to defy Moscow over Crimea, Mr Deshchytsia told CBC news Saturday that his nation will not give up Crimea.
Mr Putin support soared over the winter Olympics and the Ukraine to 71 percent in a poll yesterday ( 8 March) according to BBC world service
Following Russian media , public opinion formers are backing the government. The interim government in Kiev only have themselves to blame for hardening Moscow attitude by sending provocative signals.
The cabinet didn’t include any Russian speakers or Ethnic Russians from Eastern Ukraine ( about one sixth each of the population making over 30 percent) one of the new regime first decree was to make Russian languages a second one taught at state schools and no longer among a list first subjects taken bay all. It was a signal that Russian minority were to be made second class citizens. Then issued a request to Russian navy to leave Sevastopol, that was too much for Moscow. By the time Ukrainian interim government retracted such unwise policy, it was too l ate as the Russian navy blocked the ports before the Ukrainian ship and pro-Russian troops ( in Russian uniform but no insignia) were already in control of Crimea bases and airports. The treaty over Crimea permits Russia to have up to 25000 troops in Crimea in certain circumstances. The troops now (around 12,000) were already in bases in the area.
Bases like the port of Sevastopol, which was once a base for the mighty Russian Black Sea fleet, are essential to national security. No Russian leader would give Crimea up, while Mr Putin, like all Russian leaders for 200 years, see Ukraine as an essential buffer-zone against any threats from the west . The fact that European Union – no longer a common market but ambitious political entity wants to expand into a federal super state ( there is a commissioner for enlargement)- has played a large role in triggering the crisis. Mr Putin is aware of the EU game of swallowing former Soviet Republics, Ukraine asa buffer zone becomes more strategically important than any time in history. Keeping Crimea under Russian control is the feasible plan ( with consent of its people ina referendum) available to President Putin to counter what he sees as a real threat from an expansionist European Union.
© Copyright Adel Darwish 2014