A very busy and impressively important person, and adept representative of Russia’s interests abroad is Foreign Minister, Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov (I think in this article is the first time I have seen his full name used). He is Russia’s ‘everywhere man’. And not every FM gets to talk with presidents as he does.
No less hard working, though I suggest with far less air miles, is the stalwart and equally impressive Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, who in this TASS article reports on the high level talks her boss undertook recently in the US.
Perhaps more of general interest, to me at least, are her remarks on the changing stance of the Ukraine government of Kiev in the recent Normandy Four ‘discussions’ (can’t call them anything more than that) in Paris. I actually disagree with her official assessment, if I understand it correctly, though I think it very astute of Russia to notice and to point out that apparent Kiev change – letting others know they are aware of it.
For my money I don’t think there has been any real change in stance by the Kiev government, neither for Zelensky nor his predecessor Poroshenko. They have just, perhaps from the beginning of the Minsk agreements saga, cleverly obscured or in fact failed to clearly define their position on all the implications surrounding the Donbass situation, presumably relying on the US cavalry to save the day for them. A forlorn hope, given that the US has largely washed its hands of Ukraine, having already wrung it dry from the extraction of everything they wanted. Now, close to crunch time, Kiev’s true position has begun to be expressed yet, so far, not very forcefully. Eventually, and I suggest this will be before the next scheduled meeting in March 2020, a stand-off of insurmountable demands will be made by the Kiev side or perhaps, realising that their hoped for outcome is an impossible one, they will withdraw from the process altogether. This is in line with what I have said previously – the Minsk process has all along, though perhaps not so obviously as is now emerging, been dead in the water, designed to fail.
That Ukraine attempts to paint a picture internally that is different from all other parties understanding of the situation, following this summit, I think gives the lie to their intentions. The Kiev government knows full well they will never be able to sell the reality of the case to those who internally oppose it with distorted other views. See also: “Kiev caught trying to dupe Donbass, Normandy Quartet and failed, says Russian senator”
Nevertheless, the show must go on. Though it doesn’t contain many laughs for the comedy it is turning out to be.