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29th August – A politically important date?

August 16, 2014

The 29th August seems a long way away – and in the current circumstances, it is – and yet it may be a very important date.  Particularly so if the much talked about meeting of Presidents Lukashenko, Putin and Poroshenko in Minsk fails to occur prior to then.

Prior to that date, there is every expectation of the official dissolution of the RADA in line with the Constitution of Ukraine sometime between 24th and 26th August, the delivery – or not – of Russian humanitarian aid, as and when mechanisms are agreed between all parties including the ICRC, yet more shenanigans and military action, continued Russian military machinery, weaponry and personnel entering and egress Ukraine on a whim, as well as further probable rotation of prominent Russians for Ukrainians in leadership roles within the “People’s Republics”.

Perhaps, although unlikely, the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk will be back under Ukrainian control by then too – together with the entirety of the Ukrainian border.  Forecasting such specific events in the broader scheme of things is more than a little difficult to timescales.

There is also ever-growing speculation within the Moldavian media that the military within Transnistria will become active on 26th August.

Some of the above will occur with a fairly high level of certainty – much of it remains entirely open to question.

However, as of the time of writing, 29th August is the next date when Presidents Putin, Poroshenko and Barroso will all be in the same place at the same time.  They will all be in Slovakia to officially attend the commemoration the uprising against the Nazis.

Not since the Normandy commemorations in June have the Presidents of Ukraine, Russia and EU hierarchy had the opportunity to meet on neutral territory and on the sidelines of a regionally choreographed event.

A political and diplomatic opportunity that will be wasted?

That seems highly unlikely with winter on the horizon and European concerns regarding gas, as well as the opportunity to try and make some headway in the current situation regarding the war in eastern Ukraine where any progress, no matter how small would be welcome, and however unlikely that may currently seem, the opportunity will be missed.

It appears that Boris Lozhkin, head of the Ukrainian presidential administration is acting as interlocutor on the Ukrainian side to try and facilitate some form of meeting on the sidelines during this commemoration.  He is well known to all sides, and if true, has relegated Viktor Medvedchuk to yesterday’s man.  To be blunt however, Mr Medvedchuk was always going to be Sideshow Bob.  He perhaps no longer even has that role to play.

It would be a very hopeful soul who would believe that much of substance will come from any meeting on the sidelines – certainly immediately, if at all, at the time of writing.  However 2 weeks is a very long time in these parts, and quite clearly all sides seem to have run out of ideas, leading to a continuance upon their present trajectories and relying on current tactics – the winners and losers from which is somewhat subjective.

Anyway, in the absence of any major changes in circumstances over the next fortnight, inquiring minds may contemplate the chances of instigating any sidelines encounters and what positive outcomes – if any – it may bring.

 

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