Jun 3, 2022
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The US is hesitating which part of Ukraine to keep and which to give to Russia

The US is hesitating which part of Ukraine to keep and which to give to Russia

Photo: Sergey Bobylev / TASS

American President Joe Biden article for The New York Times did not hint that Ukraine would have to cede part of its territory in negotiations with Russia, said a White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The journalists asked her representative to clarify whether the head of state deliberately mentioned the “internationally recognized borders” of Ukraine when he spoke about supporting this country, suggesting that these words could be a signal that Kyiv would have to cede part of the territory.

“I wouldn’t interpret it that way,” Jean-Pierre said.

When the journalist who asked the question asked to clarify whether, in principle, the White House believes that Ukraine will be forced to cede part of the territory. “I think that I will not talk about this at the briefing here,” the spokeswoman replied.

Earlier in an op-ed in The New York Times, Biden said the US goal in the conflict in Ukraine is for it to be democratic, independent, and capable of defending itself against a new attack.

“I will not pressure the Ukrainian government, either publicly or privately, to make any territorial concessions. This would be wrong and would be contrary to generally accepted principles,” he wrote. However, journalists took this as a signal that Kyiv would have to part with part of the territories.

Can it be considered as such?

“In itself, this phrase in an article signed by Joseph Biden is simply part of the course to maintain a public distance of the United States in relation to the crisis around Ukraine,” I am convinced Leading Analyst of the Agency for Political and Economic Communications Mikhail Neizhmakov.

– If desired, this thesis can be interpreted, including as a signal to Kyiv not to rush to make concessions to Russia. After all, it is Moscow that Biden in this article blames for stopping the negotiation process. Rather, everyone who criticizes the White House for an insufficiently tough line on Russia was alerted by this block of the article precisely in combination with a number of other theses, sustained in a fairly moderate key. For example, that “we do not encourage Ukraine to strike targets outside its borders and will not provide it with the means to do so,” or that “we do not want to prolong the war just to hurt Russia.” Given the recent statement by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States Armed Forces Mark Millirecalling the talks between Pentagon representatives and their Russian counterparts, many observers felt that the lobby in the US leadership was growing stronger, focused on a more compromise line with respect to Moscow.

Actually, Karine Jean-Pierre stated bluntly: she would not interpret the theses in Biden’s article as a signal that the White House considers Ukraine’s readiness for territorial concessions likely. Her departure from a detailed discussion of the topic is rather a sign that only higher-ranking figures can comment on this story.

“SP”: – How important is the territorial integrity of Ukraine to Washington and within what borders?

– From the point of view of foreign policy goals, for the United States it would be more problematic, for example, a scenario in which Kyiv would lose control over the Odessa region, which would already noticeably change the balance of power in the Black Sea region. But now the question is not so worth it. For the pragmatic interests of Washington, what is important, first of all, is not the territorial integrity of Ukraine, but the impact of the crisis around this country on other players – from Russia to US partners in NATO. It is obvious that the strategy of the Biden administration will largely be determined by the impact of this foreign policy crisis on the economy of the United States itself, including in the light of the upcoming midterm congressional elections in the fall.

“SP”: – Can the United States put pressure on Kyiv to make territorial concessions?

– It is clear that the United States has a lot of instruments of pressure on Kyiv – starting with the ability to regulate the volume of financial and military-technical assistance to Ukraine. Another thing is that the Biden team cannot help but look back at critics in their own country, who will certainly accuse the US president of “concessions to Putin“. Again, if the dialogue between Moscow and Kyiv is reactivated, Ukrainian public opinion, of course, will not be particularly important for the United States, but it will be one of the noticeable components of the background of these negotiations. Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials did not incite their fellow citizens to make significant concessions to Russia, rather, convincing them of the opposite. Let us recall, for example, the statement made by the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine at the beginning of May Alexey Danilov about the possibility of the emergence of “people’s republics” on Russian territory. That is, inflated expectations of at least part of the public in this case may become a problem for the Ukrainian leadership.

“Biden’s statements, of course, cannot be taken as Washington’s readiness to agree to “territorial concessions,” I am convinced. political scientist Vladimir Mozhegov.

– Journalists, as they tend to escalate. But the fact that the mood in Washington is changing and progressing is obvious. Recent Performance Kissinger Davos is an example. Besides, Russia has too strong arguments. This is not only gas and oil, but, first of all, food. Will Ukrainian grain go through Odessa ports? It depends on how Biden responds to Russia’s demands. In general, journalists feel, of course, where it smells of fried food.

“SP”: – How to understand the words of Biden’s press secretary? (I think I won’t talk about this in the briefing here). Another manifestation of stupidity or a subtle hint?

Somewhere between the first and second. The fact that the press secretary did not immediately dismiss the journalist’s assumption should, of course, at least greatly unnerve Ukraine.

“SP”: – Is the territorial integrity of Ukraine important to the United States?

“Washington looks at Ukraine with cold eyes, like a game. More precisely – as a useful animal, predatory and bad enough to be used; but also one that is not a pity. Washington will have an interest in Ukraine as long as it benefits it. Mainly in the containment of Russia. As for “importance”, at the present time – and the world today has entered a phase of great redistribution, as it was in the Thirty Years’ War of the 20th century (1914-1945) or even the Thirty Years’ War of the 17th century – in this big sense, even Europe is not is important to Democrats. The supranational financial oligarchy, which is behind the Democrats, will easily sacrifice Europe to destroy Russia. It is clear that in this sense Washington is not interested in Ukraine in any capacity other than as a detonator. Similarly, Washington and London used Poland in 1939 to stoke the flames of World War II.

“SP”: – What territorial concessions to Ukraine could the United States theoretically agree to?

“Here you have to separate the desirable from the possible. Washington needs to eliminate the problem of Russia in principle. This is desired. However, what is happening today is a process directly opposite to what is desired: it is a revival, a return, an ascension of the Russian Empire. A painful and difficult process that goes on in a tragic, in many respects, but also inevitable, confrontation with Ukraine. And Washington has to reckon with this. I think that today Washington is ready to stop the expansion of Russia, limiting it to the lands of the Donbass, the republics of the DPR-LPR. This, as one might guess, is the subject of negotiations with Russia.

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