Why negotiations on a peaceful settlement in the Donbas stalled

The world wonders what Russia and its president want to achieve from neighboring Ukraine. Vedomosti collected the options that are discussed in Vladimir Putin's entourage.
In almost every conversation, Vladimir Putin changes his position and what he wants in fact, no one knows, perhaps he does not know, told the Davos meeting with editors of leading media President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. He assured that communicates regularly with the Russian president, and lamented the fact that Putin has repeatedly broken promises - for example, to release the arrested Ukrainians, including Hope Savchenko, told "Vedomosti" a participant of the meeting.

Strategy and Tactics

"I think that the goal we now have one - is the collapse of Ukraine", - he said in January on the issue of "Vedomosti" strategy in its relations with the neighboring country a person close to the presidential administration. "On the one hand, Russia will never return Crimea, since this question has long been closed, and the other - Ukraine is unlikely to agree with this fact in the near future and will not leave the Crimea alone, would seek his return through international institutions", - He explained the source. Moscow will not mind if politically and economically integrated with the European Union sixwestern regions of Ukraine, where "people have always been ethnically and mentally closer to the West." The rest, according to the interlocutor of "Sheets", "will be with Russia," even though the military operations in the Donbass, which led to thousands of dead and hundreds of thousands of refugees. "The experience of the Soviet Union, we can say that people's attitudes can change quickly," and the current hostile mood, present in some of the residents of Kiev and Ukraine's regions to the east of it, may be fast enough to pass, he noted.

This position is really ready to discuss a certain part of the president of the environment - so to say, the party of the war, gradually turns into a party of despair. But it has more opponents than supporters categorically assures the other person, to communicate with the president. More weight has another position - the creation of the border with Russia in the Chechen variant of the buffer zone. In contrast to the first variant of the second involves the reintegration of Donbass in economic and political life of Ukraine in the broad autonomy rights, he explains.

Strategically task nonyatna - force to reckon with Russian opinion in world geopolitics; Now formed a tactic: it is an option for some - the Transnistrian or Chechen, follows from a few words of "Vedomosti" sources in the structures of government and diplomatic circles.

This version of the Chechen settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, Putin offered to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the talks in November in Brisbane, writes the Financial Times. According to its sources, the Russian president has offered to Kiev to conduct in relation to the self-proclaimed republics of the same policy, which led Moscow towards Chechnya: buy them in exchange for money and autonomy. In order to hear from Putin's exactly what he wants to achieve by Ukraine, Merkel met with Russian President alone, in the hope to bring him to frankness, assured sources of publication. But I heard, according to the newspaper, shocked, "the pastor's daughter from East Germany with a deep sense of justice." "She alone <...> try to force Putin to express more openly, what he wants, - FT man said thatIt was informed of the progress and outcome of this meeting. - But he did not say what his strategy, because he does not know. "

Chancellor considered that went into the diplomatic impasse in relations with the Russian leader, reports Reuters, citing its sources. The negotiations were unsuccessful, and in Berlin run out of ideas that can be done to force Moscow to take a more flexible position. Putin began to prepare for a long confrontation, close to the Cold War, the agency reported. The very next day after meeting Merkel has allowed a much sharper statement than long, indicating that the turn towards the West to the Russian leadership, said the FT. In particular, the Chancellor said that Russia can threaten not only Ukraine, but also Georgia and the Balkans. Western diplomats talking about the policy of containment.

According, to communicate with President Putin's views According to "Vedomosti" interlocutor to resolve the Ukrainian crisis was such as he voiced in a conversation with Merkel in the first place he should stop ignoring Poroshenko rebeland start chatting with them as Mr Putin held talks with the leaders of the Chechen separatists who switched subsequently to the federal government. Putin spoke about this and Poroshenko, urging him to his "Chechen experience", recalling that he himself was not easy to go for it, but it gave the result tells the source "Vedomosti" a conversation with the president.

"From the outset, Russia said that the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine should begin with the constitutional reforms, which should focus on the decentralization of power in any form that is acceptable to all parties to achieve this is possible through a broad public dialogue. Unfortunately, this first position was not heard or Kiev, which has not fulfilled in this area even assumed obligations or Western countries. Only now we are beginning to hear the words of the European capitals about the need to decentralize power. Now it is important that they are told that message to the Ukrainian authorities ", - he told" Vedomosti "a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry.

However, the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to NATO, Igor Dolgov hHe revealed "Vedomosti" that has not heard of the "Chechen scenario" offer Ukraine. "This path is hardly corresponds to the ideology of President Poroshenko in the current situation. No one is going to fill up with money. Due to the lack of money - this time - and due to the fact that the truth is on our side. We do not need no one to pay off, no coaxing. We need to restore their rights in their territory ", - he said.

The source of "Vedomosti" close to the presidential administration of Ukraine, believes that Putin really could offer Poroshenko Chechen scenario "yes rather than no." However, the ratio in Kiev for this option is negative. "In those two paragraphs of the project, which was called, if it was really disappeared the third paragraph. Chechnya and, in particular, Ivan wiped out, and then everything else is going on. For Ukraine, this option is unacceptable ", - he said.

Not the fact that the Chechen version of the work at all, because the situation in the Donbass is very different from Chechnya, says the businessman, close to the leadership of the LC. From a political point of viewof the conflict in Chechnya has lasted for many years and among the Chechens were many willing to make peace, in the Donbas as ordinary fighters uniquely configured to continue the struggle, says the source "Vedomosti". In addition, Kyiv is now impossible to deploy a propaganda machine to civilian production, while even during the second war in Chechnya in Russia were influential media, occupying different from the official position. Now in Kiev are many politicians kept afloat only through the continuation of the war, he adds. There is also another important factor: from the economic point of view Russia in the mid-2000s. had a growing economy, the position of the Ukrainian economy in tears, and money for the restoration of Donbass Ukraine does not. And if they were, the political class and many regions would not be allowed to spend on the "enemies". If the money is planned to be obtained from foreign donors, they require strict accountability, which Moscow did not require in Chechnya, and it is not necessary either Kiev or Donetsk, said the source "Vedomosti".

Badges and passports

How farwilling to go hand in solving their tactical tasks? Kiev since the beginning of the crisis in the West blamed the unwillingness to provide military pressure on Russia, told the Financial Times senior Ukrainian officials.

Ukrainian authorities since August last year talking about direct military aggression of Russia in Ukraine. According to Western officials, about the days when Ukraine celebrates Independence Day (24 August), three Russian operative combat group of about 4,000 soldiers crossed the border; they moved in tanks and armored personnel carriers unmarked, were carrying heavy weapons, writes the FT. According to statements of Ukrainian and foreign intelligence agencies, Russian special forces and military intelligence officers acted in eastern Ukraine since April, when the separatists began to seize the city. But participation in the conflict of regular Russian armed forces meant his sharp escalation, says the FT. "At this point we are no longer talking about the anti-terrorist operation. We went to war with Russia, "- said the publication Poroshenko.

According to the FT, the end of August to persuade Putin to Orderso me of the peace agreement in Minsk, Poroshenko threatened to publish information on the Internet with hundreds of coins Russian soldiers captured or killed in the Ukraine. At a meeting with Poroshenko in Minsk in early September, Putin continued to deny their presence in Ukraine, adding, however, that in its order of 1.2 million soldiers and they are two days to take any capital Kiev and the EU and NATO. Minsk ceasefire agreement was signed on 5 September. On signing the document set not only by representatives of Ukraine and the self-proclaimed DND and LNR, and Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov.

Last Saturday at a conference in Munich Poroshenko during his speech from the rostrum revealed a fan of Russian passports and a military identification card as proof of the participation of Russian troops in battles with the forces of the ATO in the Donbass. However, data on the owners of these documents, as well as information about any military badges, was not made public.

Ministry of Defense has repeatedly denied allegations of Ukrainian participation of Russian troops in the fighting in the east of Ukraine, recalled "the Vedasbridge "the representative of the Russian military.

According to the military diplomat of one of the foreign countries, the West believed that the Russian troops took direct part in the hostilities in the Donbass at least once prior to the conclusion of agreements in Minsk in early September. Russian losses in the Ukraine, in most western estimates range from 50 to 150 people. But they began to reason that the Kremlin went to the Minsk agreement: at the beginning of the negotiations in the Ukrainian front were punched huge holes in the armistice which Ukraine was interested more said the source "Vedomosti".

Constructive without understanding

The aggravation of the military conflict in the Donbass region in January showed that Minsk agreement does not work, at the end of last week, French President Francois Hollande and Merkel discussed first with Poroshenko, and then to Putin a new plan to resolve the conflict (for details, see. Article on p. 01 and 03). Negotiations will continue in Minsk on Wednesday. The main thing that the president of Russia were not surprised its unpredictability - wereexamples where its position has changed dramatically, says a source in Western diplomatic circles.

FT writes that in diplomatic circles there is a suspicion that this variability is related to the fact that the Russian leader is surrounded only assents to it are people who are afraid of him to tell the truth without embellishment. Diplomats say that as a result, for example, Putin was very surprised at the unity of the EU sanctions issue. Western leaders, in turn, Putin surprised reaction. For example, according to the FT, they are very surprised that after the crash Malaysian Boeing with Russia will not withdraw its weapons from the Ukraine, which would allow it to distance itself from the conflict with the preservation of the face, but on the contrary, continued to arm the militia. The willingness of the West to believe unconditionally in the involvement of Russia in this tragedy on the basis taken from the internet photos and other "made on the knee" of evidence produced extremely native impression upon the Russian authorities, the man said, close to the president's entourage. "We must understand that he [Putin] responds to what is happening, not only as the first person of the state, but as an ordinary person, and howWhatever he tried to eliminate the personal attitude, sometimes it felt that some really insulting for Russia and for moments it may affect its decision ", - says the source" Vedomosti ".


A source close to Putin, described the relationship of the President and the German Chancellor in April last year as "confidential." According to him, the Russian president was not offended even became a well-known phrase Merkel that Putin has lost contact with reality, said as a result of one of the many phone calls the heads of the two countries. "This phrase from the crowd means nothing to Putin, he understands that during such events decency rules recede into the background for all parties. They communicate with Merkel fairly straightforward ", - said while the source" Vedomosti ". But after Brisbane Kremlin source told the FT, that no "special relationship" between Putin and Merkel, which often like to mention in diplomatic circles, was not. "Putin and Merkel have always hated each other, - he said. - Kcourse, they are professionals, so that they have made every effort for a long time. But it seems that now everything has changed. "

The US President Barack Obama has not turned out to be a good negotiator with Putin, says the FT. Sources newspapers in the US leadership say Obama does not feel the return of Putin's reaction to all attempts to build a relationship. "Obama sees the world in terms of mutually beneficial relations (in win-win terms), Putin sees international politics in terms of" who "(in zero-sum terms)», - said the publication of the former diplomat.