Google+ Followers

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ukrainian-Russian talks in Milan didn’t bring any significant results, as the situation in Eastern Ukraine remains tense

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Russian President Vladimir
Putin and EU leaders during the Milan talks
(Image: Kyiv Post)
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin met during the Milan Summit for the talks regarding Ukrainian crisis and the gas issue. The meeting was held within the framework of the ASEM Summit held on 17-18 October in Milan, Italy, and was attended by the prominent leaders of the EU countries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, British Prime Minister David Cameron and EU heads, President of European Council Herman van Rompuy and Head of European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.

The sides have been discussing the Donbas crisis and the necessity of the ceasefire and the gas issue as well. Though the talks were viewed as an important chance to make the further progress in the relationships between Ukraine and Russia and the chance to find the solution to the Donbas crisis, the talks generally have failed, as the sides didn’t manage to find the common solution.

As for the gas talks, they were really hard and tense, and Russian leader accused Ukraine repeatedly of stealing Russian gas and not paying the debts and even threatened European countries with the possibility of gas cuts and reduces in winter, though Europe appeared to be not impressed by those threats, as European countries are ready for such a scenario. Ukraine and Russia in their turn didn’t find the final solution as well, agreeing on the winter price for gas for Ukraine and reducing of some Ukrainian debts and deciding to continue the talks regarding the gas issue on 21 October.

As for the Eastern Ukrainian crisis, the sides didn’t find the political solution as well, though all of the participants emphasized the importance of applying Minsk ceasefire agreement terms, what is important to stop the violence in Eastern Ukraine. It’s worth mentioning also that Ukraine and Western countries as well demand Putin to withdraw Russian troops and military technique from Ukrainian territory and from the border with Ukraine as well and to stop supporting and financing the pro-Russian terrorists, the so called “rebels”, operating in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. It’s important for the further relationships between Russian and the international community that Russia will clearly show its intention and readiness to really deescalate the crisis in Eastern Ukraine, and only this is the condition for the possibility of lifting the sanctions, imposed earlier by EU against Russia due to its aggression in Ukraine.

The Milan talks went in three rounds. The first round was held in the wide format and was attended by all the seven EU leaders, participated in the Summit. The second round was held under the mediation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande. The third round was held between Petro Poroshenko and Vladimir Putin, without any mediators.

Petro Poroshenko, who stated he was optimistic about the upcoming meeting at the beginning, didn’t show enough optimism about its outcomes after the talks finished and declared that sides didn’t find the solution to the crisis. All the sides agreed to commit to the Minsk agreement and to ensure the ceasefire regime. In addition to that the sides stated that they totally support territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. Though Russian and Ukraine failed to make more progress and there were too much “misunderstandings and disagreements” during the talks, according to the Presidential press-service. The only one significantly positive outcome of the Milan talks was an agreement between Ukraine and Russia to start the process of the border closure. The meetings of the members and representatives of the border service and international observers are scheduled for the next week.

Though European leaders had different comments regarding the results of the Milan talks held between Petro Poroshenko and Vladimir Putin. Thus, Angela Merkel was clearly disappointed by the outcome of this meeting, as the sides failed to achieve any progress, and there was no significant result of these talks and no significant shift in the Russian-Ukrainian relations, so the sides actually remained on their previous positions. Mrs. Merkel stated she would like the negotiations to continue.

Jose Manuel Barroso in his turn stated that Mr. Poroshenko and Mr. Putin agreed on meeting the terms of the Minsk agreements “for creating of trust between the sides” and added also that there were three important demands for the further progress, which are verification of the ceasefire agreement, holding early parliamentary elections all over Ukraine, including the volatile Eastern Ukrainian region, and establishing of the border control and monitoring.

Herman van Rompuy declared that despite the fact that the sides demonstrated their commitment to the terms of the Minsk agreement and despite the fact that Mr. Putin stated he isn’t interested in the frozen conflict in Eastern Ukraine and turning this zone into another Transnistria, there was no significant political result of these negotiations, and the talks should be continued.

EU leaders also stated that Russia should do more influencing the pro-Russian “rebels” and urged Kremlin to do everything possible in order to deescalate the conflict.