The miracle did not happen ... The meeting in the "Norman format", held on December 9 in Paris, as most analysts predicted, turned out to be "empty troubles" of an international scale. The communication between the leaders of the four countries, which was interrupted in 2016, resumed - this is, in fact, the only real result. There are no others, because they could not be by definition. The contradictions on the most key issues are too serious, the approaches to the ways of solving the main problems of Donbass are too opposite, the positions of the parties are too irreconcilable.
So, did our president fly to the French capital for nothing? We will not rush to conclusions, because the most important meanings of the meeting held on the eve of the meeting lie, as usual, in details that are far from immediately striking.
Agreed to continue to agree ...
The official communique adopted at the end of the summit, transmitted by Emmanuel Macron to media representatives after midnight, in fact, is a reference set of the most general phrases and declarations. The high contracting parties, after a long transfusion from empty to empty, “express commitment”, “support implementation”, “emphasize aspiration”. And there’s something else about the “comprehensive and sustainable architecture of security and trust in Europe” ... In a word, as the wonderful cartoon cat used to say, “guys, let's live in peace”. Real agreements - all the same cat cried. The exchange of “held persons” by the end of this year has been declared. I would like to "everyone at all," but, probably, this will affect only "everyone identified." Or even how it goes. Breeding troops? The Russian side offered to conduct it along the entire line of contact, but Ukraine, as usual, rested: “It will not work!” In the end, it seems, agreed on a “separation of forces and equipment”In three more points with a term until March 2020. Are there any guarantees that Kiev will not break this agreement? Yes, not the slightest. Well, it's better than nothing. A “complete ceasefire” was also announced before, again, the New Year. To achieve this, of course, a good goal, the mandate of the OSCE monitoring mission is proposed to be done around the clock. Will help? We will see. In addition to all this, mine action should be intensified. This, of course, is important.
The rest is a complete dead end. Zelensky continues to talk about transferring the border to Ukraine before the election, while Vladimir Vladimirovich, having the appearance of a teacher who is tired of crushing a double as much as twice two, stands on the “Minsk Agreements”, which says in black and white: “the border only after elections, no one will rewrite, and never will. The Ukrainian president, like a parrot, repeats about the "occupied territories", while Putin, pretending to not hear this at all, "dunks" him heartily for forcing "Ukrainization" of education in the country and persecution of the Russian language. Angela Merkel announces Kiev’s recognition of the "Steinmeier formula", which should "benefit Ukraine," and Zelensky a couple of minutes later declares that the parties "failed to agree on some points of this very formula." Our president recalls that the special status of Donbass should be enshrined in law, moreover, reflected in the Constitution of the country, while the Ukrainian responds to ranting about the “inadmissibility of federalization” and the like. Apparently, the fundamental problems following the “Norman meeting” -2019 are as far from being resolved as they were three years ago, when this negotiation format either “paused” or even died. As it turned out - not until the end. However, being forcibly resuscitated, he looks completely incapacitated. Issues of the exchange of prisoners or the withdrawal of troops on a couple of other sectors are actually not the level of three presidents and one chancellor. Why then a contact group in Minsk? However, the leaders present in Paris announced their intention to meet again - presumably in March next year.
“And we have gas in our apartment ...” The fact that during the final press conference Vladimir Putin addressed his Ukrainian colleague and namesake with words from a nursery rhyme, adding: “And you will, if we agree,” a sign eloquent. On the one hand - all that is already the level of communication: as with a small child. On the other hand, there is more than a clear hint that there may well be no gas in the Ukrainian “apartment”. The "gas issue", which the Russian and Ukrainian sides inevitably had to touch upon during the rendezvous, was, in fact, much more important for many observers than the "Minsk Agreements". For Europeans, that’s for sure. And this question, of course, was raised - whether for nothing, the head of RAO Gazprom and the head of NAK Naftogaz were included in the delegations? Immediately after the negotiations between the presidents of the two countries, which took place with the participation of these specialized experts, some local media reported: “Agreed!” As it turned out later, they hastened with optimistic conclusions. They were almost immediately denied by Yuriy Vitrenko, who proudly declared that Kiev intends to continue to bend its line: to demand fabulous “arbitration” compensations is incomprehensible for what and in general - not a step back, no gas “zrada!” Ukraine is still ready to freeze ears in spite of Moscow, while calling the transit negotiations held in Paris “constructive” - because, according to the literal expression of the same Vitrenko, “they agreed to continue to negotiate”! Some kind of surrealism ...
Ukraine, know your place!
Generally speaking, quite vivid details, seemingly random, but very symbolic, were numerous during this meeting. All meetings between Vladimir Putin and fellow leaders took place in different rooms of the Champs Elysees. He communicated with Emmanuel Macron in the Golden Hall, and with Angela Merkel in the ambassadors' hall. With Zelensky - in the adjutant hall. The Chancellor of Germany arrived at the negotiating place in a Mercedes limousine, and the President of Russia arrived in the domestic Aurus limousine. The Ukrainian leader had to be content with a modest Renault minivan. Obviously, he did not find the “Zaporozhets” representative class on the farm ... However, all this is a joke, of course. The bottom line is different. Even before the meeting, many analysts predicted that it would result in a group "twisting of arms" of Russia. If not in the Donbass, then on issues of continuing the transit of "blue fuel" through the Ukrainian GTS on any conditions - for sure. Yes, what are the assumptions - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas absolutely openly stated that “Moscow must meet Kiev”, which “after several years of stagnation found the strength to take the first steps.” What kind of steps these are, however, has not been specified, but the statement that we already “owe” something to Ukraine has been made. However, in practice, nothing of the kind, judging by the results, has happened. No, attempts may have been made. And even most likely. The appearance of Vladimir Putin at the final press conference could best be characterized by the epithet "emaciated" ... Nevertheless, he did not make a single concession to Kiev. And most importantly, the representatives of Ukraine did not, as usual, started yelling at all of Facebook about anything like that, barely leaving the Champs Elysees. So there’s absolutely nothing to boast about.
By the way, the same Maas in his speech mentioned that Germany and Russia are now "discussing serious issues in connection with the murder in Berlin." It must be said that just on the eve of the summit, efforts were just titanic to inflate precisely this topic. As it turned out, they disappeared in vain. If someone thought in this way to seriously quarrel our countries, then he miscalculated. Asked at the final press conference about the prospects of investigating the death of Khangoshvili and the possible consequences of Russian-German relations, Angela Merkel provoked a more than calm reaction: "so far we have only suspicions ... Mr Putin promised assistance." But Vladimir Vladimirovich didn’t keep silent! Not only in very lively expressions he painted the personality and bloody deeds of the “murdered”, but also managed to chastise the Germans: they say, we asked you to give this bandit away, but you didn’t want to ... It was meant: now, and disintegrate. In general, Vladimir Vladimirovich, despite obvious fatigue, was quite harsh in his speeches, and at the same time, specific. He spoke about the need to increase checkpoints on the demarcation line, the obligatory amnesty for the participants, as he put it, of the “events in the Donbass” on the part of the Republics, the obligation of Kiev to conduct a direct dialogue with them, “without which nothing will be decided.” By the way, to the question of a German journalist: whether Russia will send German diplomats in response to Berlin’s actions, Vladimir Vladimirovich, without wagging, gave a direct answer: “You sent ours - we will send yours!” Vladimir Zelensky, in turn, after reproaching the representatives of the Russian media for the impossibility of not only working normally in Ukraine, but generally getting there, began ... to discuss which producer of the shoe Vladimir Solovyov had from. N-yes ... This is the level, of course.
What is characteristic, questions that concerned only Donbass directly, the “Minsk Agreements” and everything else, which, in fact, was the main topic of the meeting, sounded exclusively from journalists from Russia and Ukraine. Their European colleagues from Germany and France from Putin wanted to hear something completely different. For example, his attitude to WADA's discriminatory decision or comments on the Berlin murder. Ukraine is no longer completely interesting to them. And not only representatives of the European media, but all of Europe, were tired of it. For Vladimir Zelensky, of course, the presence at the summit itself was already a great achievement. He, yesterday, to put it mildly, a showman, was admitted to the circle of those who really decide the fate of the world. That's just neither victory nor triumph in the end did not work. Well, only small, but extremely annoying "punctures" - with whom does not happen ?! Well, Macron was literally forced to point the Ukrainian president to his place (Zelensky was aiming to sit in a chair prepared for Putin), and Vladimir Vladimirovich had to remind his colleague from the ground up that he had to turn his face to the press during protocol photography and not another place ... The Paris summit clearly showed that Ukraine has ceased to be for the West, at least for Europe, the "navel of the earth" and the "sacred cow", which they intend to defend without sparing the stomach of St. about him. Galloping on the next semblance of the “Maidan” in Kiev in anticipation of the return of the Zelensky pithecanthropus, there is far from delight, but irritation. Even in Paris, shaken by its social cataclysms against the “president”, whom a crowd gathered under his residence is trying to threaten and dictate the foreign policy agenda, they look without any respect.
Zelensky’s reservation made during the press conference that “it was a meeting of three leaders” is, in fact, no reservation. Those who found the strength to watch the event to the end, before the broadcast cameras were turned off, managed to see how the Ukrainian president was disappearing somewhere, and the leaders of Germany and France were surrounded by Putin, who began to interpret something emotionally (without any translators), while gesturing vigorously. Everything is right, “children's time is over”, adult conversations started ... The victory at the current “Norman” meeting of Russia consists, at least, in that it could not be turned into yet another “benefit” of Ukraine, a Russophobic show with elements of defamation of our country . And, by the way, according to the available information, the Ukrainian delegation was initially advised in Paris not to open their mouths about Crimea. Or else it will be ...