Eva Antonenko
27 July 2020 12: 17
Headings: Policy

Zelensky took a step towards peace in Ukraine, but the radicals need a war: what will come of the truce in Donbass

How events will develop further

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Zelensky took a step towards peace in Ukraine, but the radicals need a war: what will come of the truce in Donbass

July 27 in Donbass started a truce with a comprehensive ceasefire, all the conditions for the beginning of a truce by the parties are fulfilled. And on the eve of this, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation regarding the topic of the armed conflict in Ukraine.

What these events mean and what they can lead to - understood in Klymenko Time.

What did Putin and Zelensky talk about?

The Presidents discussed the implementation of the agreements reached during the Normandy Summit. They also touched upon cooperation in terms of mine clearance, disengagement of forces, opening of new checkpoints on the line of contact, the issue of ensuring access for the International Committee of the Red Cross to detainees and the activities of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.

The informational sensation of the conversation was the confirmation by the Ukrainian side of the discussion of amendments to the Constitution: the conversation raised the topic of the adoption of a law on a special procedure for local self-government in CADLO and a law on decentralization. In addition, during the conversation, Zelensky confirmed that there was no alternative to the Minsk agreements.

According to the Kremlin’s report on the conversation between the presidents, holding local elections in 2020 contradicts the Minsk agreements and jeopardizes the prospects for a settlement, probably due to the fact that no decision was made to hold elections on the territory of ORDLO. The Russian President also expressed serious concern about a number of statements by high-ranking Ukrainian officials about the need to revise the Minsk agreements.

The reaction of the "party of war"

The European Solidarity Party of Petro Poroshenko announced a protest action for the evening of July 27 and accused Volodymyr Zelensky of high treason due to the announced truce in Donbass.

Recall that during the disengagement of forces in Zolote, opponents of the truce similarly dispersed the topic of “surrender” and carried out the “No Surrender” action.

Considering that Minsk-2 was personally signed by Poroshenko, these actions look exclusively as political pressure on the authorities and attempts to consolidate the nationalist electorate around them. That is, the most difficult war for peace is being fought not so much on the line of demarcation and at the negotiating table, but within Ukraine itself between political movements opposing it.

Practical experience: how the authorities behaved after the meeting of the Normandy Four

On the eve of and during the Normandy format meeting in December 2019, nationalist-minded political forces organized the “Red Lines for Zelensky” action, with the help of which they put pressure on the authorities to refuse to implement Minsk-2 in the form in which it was signed . As a result of the lack of political will of the authorities to implement the signed agreements and statements about the need to revise the agreements, as well as the tough position of the Russian side on this issue, by the summer of 2020, Minsk again reached a dead end.

Such a development of the situation can be both a reaction of the authorities to the protests of nationalists (she is very sensitive to them and constantly listens), and a purposeful information policy of the authorities in the peace process: Zelensky cannot publicly declare that he refuses to fulfill the points of "Minsk" in the order in which where they were signed, but under alleged "public pressure" the topic of the "need" to revise the agreement arose.

What can become an obstacle?

First, the change in the electoral legislation of Ukraine and the territorial basis for elections.

Secondly, the geopolitical moment: the low-key war in Donbass is a powerful factor of pressure on Russia for the United States, and the restoration of peace will not only remove it (and Kyiv is currently an unconditional satellite of the United States), but will also help weaken anti-Russian rhetoric.

Thirdly, the protests of nationalists, to which Zelensky always reacts quite painfully.

Why is this happening right now?

The signing of additional ceasefire measures in Donbas came after Russia's toughening of rhetoric and demands for amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine. Also in the Russian Federation, they demanded that the Ukrainian side refute Reznikov's statements about the need to revise the Minsk agreements - otherwise, Russia was ready to state Ukraine's withdrawal from Minsk, end cooperation in the Normandy format and recommend similar actions to France and Germany.

The conversation between the presidents and initiatives for a peaceful settlement are heard on the eve of local elections in the face of a significantly declining rating of Volodymyr Zelensky and his political strength. And in combination with the lack of party infrastructure on the ground, the probability of losing candidates from the Servant of the People and winning them is extremely high only if former local majoritarians are nominated through the lists of the president's party. The intensification of the peace process and real progress in it can restore the trust of a part of the southeastern electorate, which massively supported Zelensky in 2019, and slightly improve the position of the Servant of the People on the ground.

Prospects for the development of the situation

The dialogue between the presidents of Ukraine and Russia may be a signal of the seriousness of the intentions to fulfill the obligations signed by the parties. The very fact that Ukraine is discussing the consideration of amendments to the Constitution on Donbass gives a chance for the further implementation of the Minsk agreements.

However, the situation repeats already familiar schemes: certain agreements are reached, protests are activated. The implementation of the agreements requires the political will of the Ukrainian authorities and consensus within the Ukrainian society.

Therefore, this is a pre-election step or Zelensky's real intention - time will tell.

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