18:18 Sep. 12, 2016
Ukrainian political expert Alexander Khara analyzes Russia's game in China after the dust has settled
Ukraine avoided being ‘served as a dish for Russia' at the G20 summit in China. Moscow had used various tactics, including snap military drills as a threat and blackmail to reach its goal, forcing the Normandy Format to negotiate on the Donbas crisis without Kyiv.
However, according to Ukrainian political expert Alexander Khara, Putin's plan failed as the Western leaders refused to come to any exclusive solid agreements with Russia on Donbas. Furthermore, after holding bilateral meetings with Putin, Merkel and Hollande consulted with the US President, Barack Obama, and coordinated their further position regarding the Minsk agreements. Khara described their talks as ‘Geneva Format minus Russia'.
‘The most important achievement for Ukraine is that it has avoided being served as a dish at the Summit. What's also important, is that all leaders of the free world understand what's going on in Ukraine and who's to blame for the war in Ukraine', the expert said.
Khara added, the G20 summit yielded results, which were opposite to what Putin wanted to achieve. The Russian President earlier stated that the Normandy Format was pointless, after Moscow blamed Kyiv for sending a sabotage group to Crimea or organize terror attacks.
However, the meeting in China seems to have forced Putin to go along with the overall plan, which became apparent after he reluctantly admitted the necessity to continue talks with President Poroshenko.
Read also: Obama and Putin discuss Syria, Ukraine
And there's more to follow. Khara described Putin's attempts to regain his position on the diplomatic front a ‘complete failure'. The Russian President didn't reach an agreement with his American counterpart Barack Obama on Syria, and the US leader later said there was still a lack of trust between the two countries. Unsurprising really, considering how Syrian government forces escalated the battles right after US State Secretary John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced they had reached a ceasefire deal.
It also seems that China, Russia's greatest friend and ally (according to Russia) is showing it's more interested in getting friendly with the West, rather than focus on Moscow exclusively. As a result, Washington and Beijing ratified the crucial Paris climate deal to slash the greenhouse gas emission. Western media called this deal a ‘breakthrough', and experts expect the two countries to step up their relations in the future.
‘In reality, Russia is just a junior partner of China, which is more interested in developing relations with the US, and actually the agenda of the G20 meeting, including liberalization of trade and so on, it's more in line with the US policy, rather than more protectionist and more conservative policy of Mr. Putin. It seems that China is playing the American game, trying to get more strength, rather than cutting ties with the world and just be a part of the Eurasian center', Khara said.
However, even though Russian aggression is the top priority for Ukraine, Kyiv should pay attention to other events at the G20 summit, the expert says. The meeting between the most developed countries in the world should certainly be used by the Ukrainians to get ideas on how to improve the state of their economy.
‘Let's have a look at the most important decisions (at the summit – UT). First, to promote the industrial revolution economy – to boost the research and development, the creation of middle and small business enterprises, mending the finances, fighting corruption, fighting tax evasions and other issues, important for the world and especially important for Ukraine', Khara says.
He adds, European integration is not a solution to Ukraine's problems, because neither the US nor the EU will want to rebuild the country's economy. However, by using other countries practices and experience, Kyiv itself could enter the elite club of the top 20 states.