Jun 17, 2022
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Grain brought to Kyiv: Europe needs wheat supplies in exchange for guns and shells

Pictured: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi (left), French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olav Scholz (SPD) are on a train bound for Kyiv.  Three heads of government arrived in Ukraine in the morning

Pictured: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi (left), French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olav Scholz (SPD) are on a train bound for Kyiv. Three heads of government arrived in Ukraine this morning (Photo: Filippo Attili/Keystone Press Agency/Global Look Press)

Can you imagine the president of France, the chancellor of Germany and the prime minister of Italy shaking on the shelves in the same compartment? And that we left Warsaw in the evening, had dinner on the way with chicken and hard-boiled eggs, and in the morning Zelensky meets them on the platform with flowers. But just recently smiling Ursula von der Leyen already visited there, not to mention disheveled Boris Johnson and other numerous high-ranking visitors.

The Italian newspaper Stampa does not bother with the topic: why? The three of them want to take out the grain that has accumulated in local elevators from the square. And the Prime Minister of Italy Mario DraghiFrench President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz decided to stand out. Ahead of them is a meeting of the European Council, the G7 summit on June 26-28 in Germany and the next NATO summit. Three in one photo, not counting Zelensky, will indicate the support of Ukraine by the largest European countries

Political scientist, professor, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Financial University Alexander Shatilov believes that the collective visit will obviously not be limited to the solution of any one issue:

– On the one hand, this is a visit of courtesy and self-promotion. A way to light up in the international information space on a hot, promoted topic. Everyone wants to demonstrate some kind of “solidarity with Ukraine.” To create a hype and an informational occasion is the first, and, in my opinion, their main goal.

Indeed, recently the negotiation processes and, in general, the supervision of Ukraine has clearly passed to the United States. Europeans do not like it, they also want to participate. And not as mere observers, but, to one degree or another, as an “actor” – an acting subject of international politics, somehow influencing what is happening.

On the other hand, I do not rule out that the supply of some weapons to Ukraine will be discussed, although it is becoming more and more clear that “not a horse’s fodder.” Most often, these weapons do not play a significant role in the confrontation. The same advertised 155 mm American M-777 howitzers successfully cover the Russian Armed Forces with their accurate fire, like all other heavy weapons. Nevertheless, some kind of military bonus can be provided to Ukraine – they will still “scrape the bottom of the barrel” and find some kind of weaponry.

I do not rule out a third point. The possibility of reconciliation, or a truce in exchange for territorial concessions, will be discussed implicitly with the real leadership of Ukraine – not so much with Zelensky himself, but with local oligarchs. After all, there are maxims in Europe that “it is necessary to stop at any cost” the Russian advance to the West, even after making temporary concessions. Zelensky and his team of oligarchs will be persuaded to this development of events, according to the principle “it is better to give up a little than to lose a lot.”

“SP”: – Can help in the supply of grain through the Odessa and Nikolaev ports or Poland be discussed at this meeting? The Italian newspaper La Stampa put forward just such a version as the main one.

— I think that the topic of grain and food security can be touched upon at the talks in Kyiv. Europe is facing a significant increase in food prices. It is unlikely that there will be a famine in the Old World itself. Moreover, Europeans have always been sellers of food in foreign markets. But if prices for essential products increase significantly, this, of course, will become a serious social challenge for European political and economic structures. This can lead to unsystematic voting and even riots.

So this issue can be raised, but usually it was raised at a lower status level. Still, heavyweights came to Kyiv. Not to such an extent over Europe “hung the threat of famine” that they rushed together to solve this problem.

SP: Why together? Maybe they do not trust each other, and the former visitors who came separately in pairs and threes: Ursula von der Leyen, as well as politicians from the USA, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, the Netherlands and some other countries?

– In big politics, in general, no one trusts anyone. The problem of trust, one might say, is not even worth it, or, to put it differently, it is extremely acute. I think it’s about raising the status of the visit and that they “represent the whole of Europe.” We are talking about consolidated participation in this issue.

“SP”: -Are they going to put pressure on someone with this collective visit? To the USA or to Russia?

— The United States has a very serious position in Ukraine. Kyiv understands that if Washington refuses them, then no one will help – Europe has a very relative subjectivity, and European leaders themselves are highly dependent on America.

As for the attempt of psychological pressure on Moscow, this may be the case. Not only now, not only in the Kremlin, but almost everyone in Russia has long understood that it is by no means European leaders who really make key decisions, but first of all the Americans.

Our elites have lost their enthusiasm for interacting with Europe. The hope that the Europeans would be more loyal to Russia did not come true. Previously, there was a dream that they would act as intermediaries or even as some kind of alternative to the United States. But it turned out that the Europeans stupidly follow in the wake of American policy and are not going to change …

An attempt by Scholz, Macron and Draghi to convince Zelensky to stop hostilities and enter into negotiations with Russia is unlikely to succeed. He imagined himself a messiah, got used to the role of the “father of the Ukrainian nation.” Yes, and puppeteers from the United States will not be allowed. They are far away, they have certain difficulties there, gasoline prices are rising, but they hope to print money and live on with their usual comfortable life.

Military expert Mikhail Alexandrov believes that as a result of the visit of three European leaders to Kyiv, further and escalation of the situation, there will be no strengthening of opposition in the east of Ukraine:

– Where to go next! Only weakening is possible. I do not rule out that they will try to persuade Kyiv to resume peace negotiations in order to deceive Russia. To impose “Minsk-3”, to ensure that Russia ceases hostilities.

Then they will use this to normalize their economic situation – after all, things are very bad there. In the meantime, re-equip Ukraine, create a new army there. According to the latest data, the losses of the Ukrainian side indicate that their regular army, which existed at the beginning of the special operation, was practically defeated. Already replenished with mobilized reserves. They want to attract 16-year-olds and unmarried women, although there is enough male population there. Probably to “raise the morale of the nation,” as Zelensky likes to do.

I think that we should not buy into any promises, “peace initiatives”. Otherwise, one cannot expect deception from them. They do not recognize fair play. We must complete the operation.

“SP”: – Do you think this visit was agreed in advance with the United States and received approval there, or did the Europeans show independence?

– Probably, the visit is agreed. After all, it takes place after the “gathering” at the military base in Ramstein. Most likely, they discussed the situation in Ukraine and came to some conclusion.

“SP”: – Troika arrived in Kyiv by train. Meanwhile, European leaders are in constant contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The same Macron – his frequent telephone interlocutor – could well have asked to “open” the sky for presidential planes – for a good purpose. So the planes of the heads of state would have landed safely in Kyiv?

— I don’t think that Macron would have discovered the sky over Ukraine “on call”. He could ask that they not shoot at the train – yes. This is generally some kind of strange, “secret visit”, allegedly in connection with ensuring the security of top officials. But at the same time, everyone knew about him. In France, this is called the “open secret”.

“SP”: – What do you think, will the transportation of Ukrainian grain, the demining of Ukrainian ports be discussed during the visit?

“They have already decided to build granaries in Poland and export all Ukrainian grain there. This is rather strange: why not build a granary in Ukraine? We do not beat on stocks of grain. Although… AFU and nationalists sometimes set fire to the grain themselves, retreating. But in the extreme west of Ukraine, this granary could be built. It turns out that they are not sure that even “Galicia, Bukovina and other Transcarpathia” will remain under the control of the West.

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