Vitaly Portnikov: Russia “bombarding” the doubters before Normandy Four Summit
Article by: Vitaly Portnikov
The Kremlin is preparing for the Norman Four Summit as best it can. Shelling on the demarcation line has not stopped. The “DNR parliament” has just “voted a law” recognizing the borders of Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast as its own borders, thus enveloping the entire region. Speaker of the Russian State Duma Viacheslav Volodin has warned that several more regions might soon break away from Ukraine. And Vladimir Putin himself accuses Ukraine of non-constructive decisions in gas negotiations.
Add to this the killing in Berlin. Of course, some will accuse the Russian special services of gaucherie in this matter. Why cast a shadow over the summit just before the meeting between Merkel and Putin? But, if this is gaucherie, then it is a deliberate tactless act on the part of Russian secret service, making it clear to the Federal Chancellor of Germany that they feel entirely at home in London and in Berlin. Angela Merkel, who now has serious problems with maintaining a government coalition after the change in SPD leadership, should understand this. It’s good to reflect first on one’s behaviour and doubts…
Macron is not “being bombarded” because he seems to have no doubts about anything.
Ukraine pretends not to understand what the results of the Paris summit might be, although even a dilettante can figure out the outcome… except for such dilettantes as the presidents of Ukraine and France, of course. In any case, the roles have long been assigned and the stage has long been set by the Kremlin.
Putin is going to Paris to accept the surrender of the presumptuous television comedian (Zelenskyy-Ed), who thinks he is equal to his KGB comrade (Putin-Ed), and who dared to seek a meeting with this “land grabber”. Macron’s task is to put pressure on the comedian, explain to him how life really works, and to underline that Ukraine will never ever receive a better deal. As for Madam Merkel, she should remain silent and not bother Putin. That, in fact, is the mise-en-scène (literally “placing on the stage” in French-Ed) planned for the Normandy Four Summit in Paris on December 9.
But, what will happen if Zelenskyy refuses to be the sacrificial lamb? What will happen if he doesn’t surrender to Putin, if he resists Macron’s pressure, if he listens to Merkel’s advice? Nothing special, nothing at all! Russia’s threats, which we have heard at different levels, will simply become a reality. They will try to “restore the territorial integrity of the “DNR”, begin working underhandedly in other Ukrainian regions to encourage secession, cut off gas supplies, intensify shelling, etc. Russia has a lot of options to choose from to increase pressure on recalcitrant leaders. Because, if Zelenskyy refuses to surrender, the Kremlin will see to it that more and more pressure is applied directly to Ukraine.
Thus, President Zelenskyy must choose between the lesser of two evils (he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t!) – between surrender and war. Of course, most Ukrainians want neither surrender nor war; they want peace, so there is no shame. Simply put, Zelenskyy wants a miracle!
Zelenskyy’s predecessor, Petro Poroshenko, understood this situation very well, and therefore, he did not insist on scheduling other meetings in the Norman format. He was convinced that a compromise could not be reached, and surrender would lead to further escalation. The fact that there were no summit meetings allowed both Ukraine and Russia to strengthen their positions until things looked up…despite the fact that sanctions against Russia continued to be in force and assistance to Ukraine continued to flow into the country.
Zelenskyy should have studied and understood why the Normandy meetings really ceased. But, surrounded by naive or ill-intentioned people, convinced that the hostilities continue only because some guys in Kyiv want to “get rich from the war” or do not want to talk with Putin, President Zelenskyy has rushed into a pest-house called the Normandy Four Summit… and he has dragged the country along for the ride.