Oleg, Zelensky greeted at Boryspol airport a plane transporting Ukrainians, who on Sunday were released in Donbass during the exchange with Kiev detainees, and thanked the leaders of the Normandy four.
“He couldn’t help but do it. So many high officials wanted to get to Boryspol at that moment to show themselves against the background of ‘released political prisoners and prisoners of war’ that they even had to make lists of those who met them and trim the extra ones. Zelensky is well aware of how important this is in terms of PR both domestically and internationally. For Kiev, those who returned from Donbass are heroes. They are greeted at the highest level, they are promised apartments, they are called to television studios. Official authorities and Zelensky himself will milk everything they can out of the situation. Will this be the attitude towards those who returned to Donetsk and Lugansk? After all, people who in 4-5 years did not surrender and did not betray their ideals returned there. And they’re the real heroes. Will they be integrated into society? Where will they go with their release certificates?”
One day it became known about the gratitude of Zelensky to the leaders of the Normandy Four and that in the extensive list of foreign leaders who the Kremlin congratulated on the New Year, the head of Ukraine isn’t mentioned…
“Nothing surprising. According to diplomatic, international etiquette, the leader of the country who was congratulated by the leader of another country must respond to him. Can you imagine Zelensky sending back a New Year’s congratulations to Putin? He, of course, cannot afford this and, I think, Moscow well understands this and does not put the President of Ukraine in an awkward position.”
Your forecast for 2020 – Zelensky will start to truly implement the Minsk Agreements and fulfil his promises to establish peace in the country or will he continue to try to survive between the hammer of nationalists and the anvil of the west?
“It is more and more difficult for him to do this – to pretend that he is fulfilling his campaign promises. Zelensky is losing control of Ukraine. His approval rating is falling – it’s not yet catastrophic, but still. The prisoner exchange will help him a little – but for a short time. In the Rada he does not have a decisive majority – one part of the deputies from his party ‘Servants of the People‘ are Poroshenko bots, another part is closely linked with the interests of specific oligarchs and are not concerned about the implementation of the president’s policies. The Prosecutor General confesses and holds views that are closer to Poroshenko than to Zelensky. The same applies to a number of other officials in key positions. Therefore, it is not worth hoping for peace in Donbass and for an improvement in Russian-Ukrainian relations.”
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