Macron in Kyiv: good talks, and now?
After his visit to Moscow, French President Macron travelled to Kyiv on Tuesday, where his Ukrainian counterpart Zelensky thanked France for its support. Macron stressed the importance of the Minsk Protocol while Zelensky assured him that Ukraine would implement the agreements. But according to commentators the outcome will depend mainly on Washington and Moscow.
Minsk Protocol not in Ukraine's interest
Everything points to the West and Russia agreeing that adherence to the Minsk Protocol is the path to peace, writes Iliya Kusa in Gordonua.com:
“They will promote the implementation of the Minsk agreements as the only way to de-escalate and achieve a compromise with Russia, because they are the least painful for them - and the least threatening to their interests (I stress: their interests, not ours). ... The Europeans, Americans and Russians have a shared idea of the points Ukraine must implement in order to reach a compromise: amnesty, the autonomy of Donbass and (perhaps) direct negotiations with the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.”
France's input only moderately helpful
In the end it is Moscow and Washington that must resolve the conflicts, Kommersant FM radio urges:
“Macron has indicated that he understands Moscow's concerns better [than the US], and that he recognises the core of the problem and not just its clearest expression - the Ukraine crisis as the tip of the iceberg. There is, however, one insurmountable obstacle: no matter how much good will there is, resolving the fundamental and conceptual conflicts between Moscow and the West depends not on Paris but on Washington. This will be a long, arduous process. The Americans' true intentions are unclear not only for Russia, but also for their allies, including France.”
Putin knows exactly what he wants
El Periódico de Catalunya suspects the Russian president has a clear strategy:
“It seems that it is Putin who is setting the pace of events in order to achieve concrete goals: reducing the agreed solution to the crisis to a deal with Washington, leaving Ukraine irreparably weakened; and fragmenting the European camp as an indirect way of weakening the bloc of US allies. ... All this without dispelling the dual impression that Macron's initiative is driven by domestic reasons and that Biden wants to increase the pressure to correct the sorry spectacle he made of himself in Afghanistan.”