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Moscow makes meeting with Zelensky clear in advance of Nuland’s visit

According to Deputy Director of the Institute of CIS Counties Vladimir Zharikhin, "Moscow demonstrates that it geared up for discussing the Ukrainian problem, but with those who have been making decisions in recent years, it means, with the United States"

MOSCOW, October 11. /TASS/. In advance of the visit to Moscow by US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, Russia’s leadership was very clear over the possibility of a meeting between the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, which Kyiv insists on, Deputy Director of the Institute of CIS Counties, Vladimir Zharikhin said on Monday commenting the article written by Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev for the Kommersant newspaper.

"I do not exclude that one of the prerequisites of Nuland’s willingness to negotiate in Moscow is the commitment to reinforce that active and even somewhat hysterical campaign about the need for an immediate meeting of the Russian and Ukrainian presidents, which is being held in Kyiv," Zharikhin said. If Nuland actually goes here for this purpose, Medvedev’s article is a clue that it was not worth obtaining the Russian visa just for this, so that she doesn’t indulge in illusions and does not devote precious time to convince Russia’s authorities to meet with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky."

The political analyst believes that the article in the Kommersant newspaper is not Medvedev’s personal initiative, but "an expression of the position of the Kremlin team" which decided to "draw clear lines" before Nuland's arrival. "Moscow demonstrates that it geared up for discussing the Ukrainian problem, but with those who have been making decisions in recent years, it means, with the United States," the expert noted.

Zharikhin pointed out that Medvedev's arguments over a lack of independence in the current Ukrainian leadership "are evident and impossible to refute." "At the Normandy Format Summit in December 2019, Zelensky promised to comply with the Steinmeier formula, but later under American pressure went back on his promise," he recalled. According to him, the Ukrainian President demonstrates this dependence in the domestic arena. Zharikhin believes that the resignation of Dmitry Razumkov from the post of speaker of the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada) showed that Zelensky is not ready to put up with disagreement with Washington’s instructions and "fundamentally does not want to abandon the "whatever you will" model, even if it goes "to the detriment of his own leadership."

According to the political analyst, all of this illustrates that currently, a Russian-Ukrainian meeting at the highest level will not achieve anything. "Whatever the compromise agenda was agreed with Kiev, coming from [the Russian president] Zelensky will announce that they discussed the liberation of Crimea and Donbass, and Putin refused, Russia is the aggressor, it is a party to the conflict. That's why Zelensky wants to hold a meeting. Apart from provocative actions, he [Zelensky] can do nothing. Whatever commitments he makes, he will not fulfill them unless the appropriate command from Washington follows. Therefore, it makes no sense for Moscow to communicate with Zelensky and his team," the political analyst concluded.