Round 2: Surkov vs.Volker negotiations – Donbass is slipping away from Ukraine

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January 23 , 2017 – Fort Russ News – 

Politnavigator – by Inessa Sinchougova

The next round of talks between US special representative Kurt Volker and Russia’s presidential aide Vladislav Surkov will be held on January 26 in Dubai.

On January 24, Volker arrived to observe the Ukrainian-controlled territory of the Donbass, while tomorrow he will meet with officials in Kiev.

His last meeting with Surkov, which took place on November 13 in Belgrade, Volker called a “step back”, as Russia rejected the proposed UN mission to the Donbass, as developed by the Americans. 

“Peacekeepers are needed to stop the deaths of people, and not to arrange the balance of power as you need” was the position of Moscow.

“There are no serious expectations for progress in terms of compromise. After the adoption of the law “On the Reintegration of Donbass” Moscow has a serious point to make, or even stop any negotiations.” said Kiev political analyst, Mikhail Pogrebinsky.

“I think the meeting between Volker and Surkov will be a just a matter of protocol. Volker will learn that Moscow is not going to change its position, which is for the territory to receive autonomy, the Constitution of Ukraine is to be amended, and elections are to be held in the Republics. 

I believe that Volker, with his chatter on all channels, does not express his own position, but the position of Trump’s opponents. Trump constantly makes it clear that he would like to find a common language with Putin. Volker is a very strange representative of the State Department.

Surkov will once again explain to Volker that he can fulfill his mandate toward a peaceful settlement (if he has one) only if he convinces Kiev to give up their position. But this is impossible. Therefore, the meeting will be useless. The positions of both countries for initiating a peacekeeping operation are very different.

I still believe that the only way to preserve the Donbass as part of Ukraine (and I would like it to be so) is to provide real autonomy for this region. If both the US and Europe refuse this, there will be no integration, the territory will slowly leave Ukraine by any means possible,” Pogrebinsky said.

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