Kiev had great expectations of the event in belief the Obama-Poroshenko talks would go beyond friendship and support assurances to bring about some practical results too. «One cannot win the war with blankets», said Poroshenko. He added that both lethal and nonlethal aid is «urgently needed».
No matter hearty applauses and words about being friends, President Obama shied away from the promise to provide lethal military aid. The US refused to grant MNNA status (major Non-NATO ally) to Ukraine. It all goes to show that Petro Poroshenko is being watched by Washington as options are being weighed if he should be substituted with somebody more convenient (there are a lot of those in Ukraine who are willing to stage a new coup).
Media outlets were at one coming to the conclusion that the visit ended with scarce results. According to the Washington Post, for the sake of the cameras President Obama assured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at a White House meeting on September 18 that «not only do we support Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence in words, but we’ve also been supporting it in deeds». If only that were true. The reality is that the beleaguered Ukrainian leader left Washington backed by considerable rhetoric from the Obama administration but little with which he can turn back the continuing Russian aggression against his country. The newspaper sounds rather ironic about the «non-lethal aid» to Ukraine saying that «Mr. Obama’s answer was to offer another batch of blankets: non-lethal equipment amounting to $46 million, a rounding error in the Pentagon’s budget». The sum is rather symbolic. It’s somewhere a bit near the knuckle. Some US outlets offer pieces that shed some light on the reasons behind the President’s decision. In its publication called In Ruins of Ukrainian Town, Residents Crave Food, Water and Peace the New York Times describes the hardships of everyday life in the eastern part of Ukraine. A peasant woman in Luhansk who declined to give her name said «I don’t care what country we live in or what it is called; I just want peace», she said. «I just want gas, water and school for the children».
The insignificant visit results and the consent to conclude the armistice resulted in growing opposition to the President of Ukraine. Almost all known Ukrainian politicians lambasted the President’s initiatives. Yulia Timoshenko, the leader of Ukraine’s party Batkivshchyna and former Prime Minister said on Sunday, September 21, that she did not believe in President Petr Poroshenko’s peace plan for eastern Ukraine. «I don’t believe in the peace plan of the Ukrainian president, and consider the three-party talks in Minsk as a deceit», she said in an interview with the Inter television channel. «Minsk is a fraud seeking to disarm the army and make Europe and America ease sanctions (against Russia) or cancel them at all». She said that warfare was not an obstacle for reforms, since these reforms would help Ukraine to win. «We must act but not sign memorandums that are means to disarm us. We must win a victory and carry out reforms all the same», Timoshenko stressed.
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is considered to be one of «war party» leaders (the expression is not precise because there is no «peace party» among those who remained afloat and have not been forcibly excluded from politics). He is showing restraint. Before the parliamentary election the Prime Minister will be on the fence while maneuvering between Poroshenko and his opponents and doing his best to make appear that there is consensus found within the ranks of Ukrainian political elite. Washington is supposed to support Yatsenyuk to use after the election as leverage to influence President Poroshenko. Practically the United States controls all the prominent Ukrainian politicians. Poroshenko realizes it well.
The US final mission is to destabilize Ukraine making Russia concentrate all the efforts on the problem to the detriment of other foreign policy issues. America provides Poroshenko with enough aid to make the conflict keep on smouldering and never end. It’s not clear if the Ukrainian President, who is hard pressed by the army of opponents, will find an immediate solution to the conflict tearing the country apart instead of making it drag on for many years. Now it looks that finding a settlement is a tall order. Anyway, the fact is evident that there are no independent politicians left on the Ukrainian political arena. The differences between Poroshenko and, say, Turchinov and Hrytsenko are insignificant; they all are dependent on the United States. The US eyes not only those who proved themselves during the Maidan, state coup and «anti-terrorist operation» days, but also political newcomers not known to public just a few months ago.
Semen Semenchenko is the nom de guerre (real name Konstantin Grіshin) of the founder of the Donbass Battalion, an autonomous volunteer unit based in Donetsk and funded by Dnepropetrovsk-based tycoon Kolomoisky. The unit commander went to Washington at the very time Poroshenko visited the United States. On his Facebook page he bragged about being invited inside the Pentagon to meet the experts on psychological operations. He also reported about an agreement with US retired military to provide aid as instructors for officers of Ukrainian punitive units. The Americans promised to use their Delta Force and SEAL experience. Everything is still ahead.
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The time is ripe to ask those who went to Maidan last winter and demanded a regime change – did they really want Ukraine to become a puppet state ruled from outside?