Courtesy and interest: experts about the first conversation Lukashenko and Zelensky

Last week, the leaders of Belarus and Ukraine in a telephone conversation discussed bilateral relations. Alexander Lukashenko, according to his press service, “congratulated the Ukrainian President on conducting successful political campaigns and wished him success in forming a government and in the further work”. Vladimir Zelensky, in turn, “told Lukashenka about the situation in the Donbas and thanked for organizing an effective negotiation platform and in General for the role played by Belarus to resolve the conflict.” Lukashenko said that “Belarus will continue to make every effort to resolve the situation in the region and Ukraine can always count on Belarus as a country which is committed to peace initiatives and processes.”

Creative producer of the Studio “Quarter-95” Sergey Sivoho, people from the inner circle Zelensky and future people’s Deputy from the party “people’s Servant”, was in Minsk on the day of the conversation the heads of state. On his page in Facebook Sivoho wrote that the question of Donbass discussed the subject, “the relations of Ukraine and Belarus enter new level”. The intensification of negotiations on the Donbass, and even on the possible imminent settlement of the conflict with Minsk then has written a number of Ukrainian and Russian resources.

Ukrainian political scientist, Executive Director of the Institute of world politics Evgeny Magda in an interview with RFI notes that even a close Alliance between Minsk and Moscow may not affect the resolution of the conflict. Now, according to the analyst, we can talk about the breakdown of the ceasefire, but certainly not about the promotion in the negotiations.

Eugene Magda: “Lukashenko, of course, an experienced politician, he is a veteran of the presidential service in the post-Soviet space. But even Lukashenko can not affect Russia in the issue of settlement in the Donbass. The key to settlement lies in Moscow. And Russia seeks Ukraine clearly enough to deprive the foreign subjectivity as a minimum and to turn into a kind of a raw materials appendage. To say that Russia is committed to the settlement and that Belarus will be able to play a crucial role — no, I think it triggered the inertia of thinking from the fact that intensified after the coming to power Zelensky work of the trilateral contact group (Minsk). But as practice shows, announced the truce has not observed the attacks coming, they’re not as intense as before, but daily. I have the impression that the Ukrainian side today just doesn’t want to talk about the failure of the truce, because it would, say, an own goal”.

According to the expert, Ukraine can fall into the trap of “reclassification” of the conflict in the East of the country.

Eugene Magda: “the Conflict has entered its sixth year. And to expect that he just completed is at least naive. Secondly, still today Ukraine stood before the first strike from Russia, reason to just capitulate, I think not. And again, in society, in spite of the strong request for a solution, still I would not say that there is a prevalence of defeatist sentiment. There are several other moment. In my opinion, quite correctly through sociological research to the Ukrainian society to promote the theme of the need for direct negotiations with Donetsk and Luhansk, which Russia insists. This is a very serious trap, as in the case of implementation of this scheme, Russia will simply wash their hands and encourage inquiry in Western Europe in the settlement of relations with Russia thus: they will say, look, by all indications, these direct negotiations — in Ukraine there is a civil war, so we quietly stepped aside and let Kiev is negotiating with the Donetsk and Lugansk”.

During the conversation, Lukashenko accepted the offer Zelensky visit in October Zhitomir — there will be a Forum of regions of Belarus and Ukraine. Belarusian political scientist, coordinator of the analytical project Belarus Security Blog Andrei Porotnikov notes the divergence between the interests of Kiev and Minsk.

Andrei Porotnikov: “we can Hardly expect that as a result of the Belarusian-Ukrainian talks will be some qualitative improvement in the internal situation in Ukraine. The parties have different nature of interest. Belarus is primarily interested in the access to the Ukrainian market is the second most important export market for us and the premium. For Ukraine the most important issues of external security — they would not want to another thousand kilometers of the front line. It should also be understood that in contrast to Belarus, where Lukashenko has full power, Zelensky, the situation is quite different. There is such a concentration of power there. Second, it is unclear whether Zelensky where to go. Apparently — is not. The Belarusian-Ukrainian dialogue was always pretty intense at the highest level — regardless of who was in power in Kiev and Yushchenko, Yanukovych, and Kuchma, after the revolution and Poroshenko. The interests of Minsk is very pragmatic, and they basically depoliticized”.

As for great deals Vladimir Zelensky on the expansion of the Normandy format and the meeting in Minsk the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, Germany and the United States, then, according to Eugene Magda, in spite of the external support of the proposal: most parties to come true, he was not destined.

Eugene Magda: “I don’t believe in the reality of this statement. Trump in order to come to Minsk, you need to obtain clear assurances that he will take some kind of positive result for themselves. In the United States is already gradually unfolding presidential campaign, and trump, although his position in the Republican party and in the race fairly strong, I see (for him) reason to go into the unknown. It’s just the idea of the team Zelensky to expand the channel format. But I don’t see reasons why Russia should agree. She’s supposed to play along with Trump? Why Russia sits at the negotiating table with the opposite side a strong, powerful players? What for Russia is the reason? And without the consent of Russia to expand the format of the talks is technically impossible”.

Note that the relations of Belarus and Ukraine the last two years, burdened by several “spy” and “colasposoma” business. Ukrainian student Pavlo Mushroom was detained by Russian special services in Gomel in August 2017, and then secretly transported to Russia, where he received six years for allegedly promoting terrorist activities. Ukrainian journalist Paul Sharoika in Belarus sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of espionage, in Chernihiv on trial on charges of espionage Belarusian Yuri Policy.
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