Archive for July 7th, 2017

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The Nuland-Surkov channel 2.0? A Volker-Surkov channel

July 7, 2017

In a move that will certainly grab no international headlines due to the G20 gathering, not to mention the (perhaps) first meeting between Messrs Trump and Putin other US foreign policy acts will, at least momentarily, fail to register.

That the State Department is currently running with a serious lack of people who actually do the work, (the deputy, under secretary, appointments that remain unfilled), is no secret.   The impact on structure and process will not be without significance – however this is not a blog about the US or indeed Russia.  It is a blog about Ukraine.

That said, as is painfully obvious to all 3 years (and more) into an overt war instigated by Russia, Ukraine is not immune from the actions of its aggressive neighbour, nor US policy toward Ukraine and also Russia – for they are not the same thing.

Since the departure of the previous US Administration, wherein worked Victoria Nuland, the direct behind the curtain Nuland-Surkov channel relating to Ukraine, has naturally ceased to operate.  The current US Administration has been slow in appointing somebody to facilitate this continuance of this channel.

On 7th July, the day of the G20 gathering, the US quietly appointed Kurt Volker as the US Special Envoy to coordinate US State Department efforts at conflict resolution between Russia and Ukraine.  Ergo there is now, or soon will be a Volker-Surkov channel in all probability as part of his role.

For readers with little or no knowledge of Mr Volker, whilst he is currently at the McCain Institute (and has been there for 6 years now), he is in fact a career diplomat (less 2 years as a CIA analyst).

His last diplomatic appointment was as the US Permanent Representative to NATO.  A position that hopefully provides him with a certain amount of understanding when it comes to Europe geographically (ie he can find most of its nations on a map without help), politically, economically, and culturally as well as an understanding of The Kremlin.

Naturally that does not mean results can be expected – nor should they be.  Even if a ceasefire ever eventually arrives where the fire actually ceases, the Kremlin war against Ukraine will continue across numerous other fronts – for at least another decade, probably longer.

Nevertheless, when the G20 headlines begin to fade and the name Volker seemingly appears from nowhere in connection to the US and illegal annexation of Crimea and the occupied Donbas, it is perhaps necessary for the blog to put a peg in the ground/create a reference point.

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