Wednesday, 23 Oct 2019
OPINION

Positive move but business as usual

Updated at Saturday, 13 Jul 2019, 12:06
The Hanoitimes - The two presidents talked about, of cause, Ukraine, concretely about the conflict in Ukraine’s eastern regions and the relations between Russia and the smaller neighbor.
Ukraine’s newly-elected President Volodymyr Selenskyj took the initiative and made a phone call to Russia's President Vladimir Putin, so that the two held their first talks. Until now, Mr. Putin has not congratulated Mr. Selenskyj on of the latter’s assumption of Ukraine’s top office. Under Mr. Selenskyj's predecessor, there had not been any direct contacts and talks whatsoever between Mr. Petro Poroshenko and Mr. Putin. Therefore, the first direct talks, even only a telephone conversation, could and should be seen as very positive, right and encouraging.
 
Ukraine’s newly-elected President Volodymyr Selenskyj
Ukraine’s newly-elected President Volodymyr Selenskyj
The two presidents talked about, of cause, Ukraine, concretely about the conflict in Ukraine’s eastern regions and the relations between Russia and the smaller neighbor. Details of their talks weren't revealed. But one can suppose that the two wanted first of all to get to know each other, and secondly, to get acquainted with each other's points of view on problems of their common concern. And that was enough for both at present.

Mr. Selenskyj can now take advantage from this talk to campaign for the snap parliamentary election in Ukraine to be held on 21th of this month where his political party wants to and must gain the majority he deadly needs to make his presidency smooth. He reserves the top priorities on his governing agenda to end the conflicts in Ukraine’s eastern regions and to get back Crimea from Russia. In contrast to his predecessor, he believes that to reach these goals, he has to get in dialog with Russia and with Mr. Putin personally. That is why he has many times shown his willingness to meet or to talk directly with Mr. Putin. He also proposed that the so-called Normandy format or the contact group on Ukraine, involving Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France; and their talks in Belarus's capital of Minsk should be extended to include the US and the UK, and that because not Germany or/and France but Russia, the US and the UK in 1994 all committed to respect and safeguard Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

He knows that all depends mostly on Russia. But right now what he only needs is to be seen by Ukrainian voters as a president with visions and capabilities, self-confidence and courage in dealing with other countries and solving all problems the country has been until now facing. For him, proposing his ideas is now more decisive than realizing them.

On his side, Mr. Putin has strategic and long-time interest to alienate Ukraine from the EU, NATO and the US, to keep the smaller neighbor under pressures so that Ukraine must seek relations of good neighborliness with Russia and do not side with the EU, NATO and the US against Russia. For him, there is no matter whether to keep or to extend the present Minsk Normandy format because every result of this format depends on Russia. But the time is now for and not against Russia. Therefore it is easy to understand that Mr. Putin will wait to see the outcome of the snap parliamentary election in Ukraine, to know the new government of the UK and to watch the reactions of the US. That is why there wouldn’t be anything new in the first conversations between Mr. Putin and Mr. Selenskyj.

But despite that, it is still very positive, good and necessary for both Ukraine and Russia as well as for both Mr. Selenskyj and Mr. Putin.
Ambassador Tran Duc Mau
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