Europe being under pressure of a big business lobby more frequently thinks on ending sanctions against Russia
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As the former US Ambassador to Ukraine (1998-2000) and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution Stephen Pifer has noted on this occasion, Ukraine should act wisely in order to shift out all claims from itself.
"The urgent question in the process of implementation of the Minsk agreements is, above all, maintenance of security in the Donbas, as it is difficult to achieve progress in the political and other components, if shooting still ongoing ", - the former ambassador has agreed.
But at the same time, he said, it is important that Ukraine has done everything possible to fulfill its part of the Minsk agreements because the only way it can get an understanding of the EU, in particular, during the consideration of the question of whether to extend sanctions against Russia in July ".
Another former US Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst (2003-2006), for his part, has proposed a possible recipe for exit of Ukraine from the "impasse" of allegations regarding the lack of implementation and enforcement of Minsk agreements, and compulsions from Moscow to fulfill its obligations.
"In my opinion, it would be better if Ukraine adopted a law on the elections in the Donbas. I know that this solution has a lot of controversy in Ukraine, but the fact that the electoral law could be adopted in accordance with international standards consistent with the Constitution of Ukraine and contain a requirement that the elections can not take place until Russian forces and weapons remain in Donbas ", - Herbst said.
He stressed that it will also witness the implementation by Kiev of the next step for the accomplishment of the Minsk agreements. However, in order to force Russia fulfill its obligations under the Minsk agreements, "it is necessary to keep the sanctions in place, and the US should provide Ukraine with lethal weapons," the expert stressed. At the same time he expressed the opinion that such developments can be expected after the presidential elections in the United States. "
Senior researcher of the Eurasian Center named after Dean Patrício of the "Atlantic Council" Adrian Karatnytsky drew attention in this regard to the need for guarantees for Ukraine if it will adopt the law about which it has been written in the Minsk Agreement.
"Ukraine must obtain firm guarantees from the EU that in case of adoption of the electoral law for the Donbas, the sanctions against Russia will be maintained until such time as the last would completely fulfill its obligations under the Minsk agreement," - said the expert.
And he continued that "this must not only be a matter of countries of "Normandy format "; this should be a process involving the entire Euro-Atlantic community which should stand up for Ukraine".
The position of the Ukrainian side was explained to the Washington conference by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Vadim Pristayko."I believe the security issues (in the Donbas - Ed.) have to be solved first because it is the basis for the entire Minsk process, "- said the representative of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.
He stressed that in the current situation when it starts to be talked about the elections in the Donbas, "it is necessary to draw attention to the fact that the state of ceasefire is not adhered to full". In addition, according to him, a full retraction of weapons is not provided, and if we go further, withdrawal of troops did not happen, too. This creates a situation where elections can not be conducted in a transparent manner, and there are not even guarantees that the Ukrainians will be elected under such conditions. Who will be represented by those candidates, and how many people will actually vote for them would be a big question.
"Besides, another Crimean scenario can be applied there: someone whom we do not know will push for the referendum. This leads to great danger, "- the deputy minister has noted.
He stressed that the Ukrainian side now wants one of the Western partners, namely understanding. "We need to achieve again the basic conditions (the Minsk agreement - Ed.), to stop killing each other, and when this will be done, to execute step by step the agreements reached", - said the deputy head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.
Although the debates in the US capital on the prospects of the implementation of the Minsk agreements did not assume entering a particular result, it has forced experts and representatives of government circles to look at the problem from another angle. It is obvious that an exchange of views is almost always helpful to solve problems of a critical situation, and everyone could broaden his/her own horizons. However, now it is possible to define accurately only one thing: in the event of further delaying the work of the "Normandy format" the following key decision (on the extension or termination of sanctions against Russia) will be made by the European Union. And the least challenge for Ukraine is not to allow Europe to "take the bait" of the Kremlin diplomacy and to close eyes to Russia's aggression for the sake of temporary economic benefits.
Yaroslav Dovgopol, Washington
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