European pundits are doing that vis-à-vis US-Ukraine relations, if Deutsche Welle is any example. SecState Mike Pompeo is headed to Ukraine to discuss a number of items centered on how we can extend our support for and of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, and this is supposed to be an especially complicated visit.
Analysts say Ukraine has become “toxic” for the US [based on the current impeachment/trial process of President Donald Trump], and that contacts at various levels have become more difficult and more restrained.
Leave aside the question of what analysts—these are carefully unnamed—and the question of who in either administration are saying contacts are more difficult and restrained, and there’s nothing left in this claim. There’s only the fact that our head diplomat after the President is headed there, just a few short months after the last contact between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that it extends beyond just government officials. Two former prosecutor generals in Ukraine, Viktor Shokin and Yuri Lutsenko, both discussed the Biden case with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani….
Not further complicated at all by this. This bit is wholly irrelevant to Pompeo’s trip; the complication exists only in the minds of those anonymous analysts.
The posts of Special Envoy to Ukraine and Ambassador to Ukraine remaining vacant is hardly a complication, either. The Special Envoy isn’t required (and never was), and the embassy is ably handled by the deputy ambassador and the ambassadorial staff in Kyev. Sure, it would be useful to fill the Ambassador slot, but nothing is held up by its being empty.
Even the disagreement between Pompeo and a newsperson is being held up by these pundits as a complicating factor. Never mind that that is a purely domestic matter or that members of this administration—and prior ones—are involved in disagreements with our press as a matter of routine.
There’s this, too:
The Minsk peace accords are bound to be one of the central issues during Pompeo’s visit to Kyiv. At a summit in Paris in December 2019, Washington praised Zelenskiy’s efforts to restart the faltering peace process. In the coming weeks, Ukraine will implement political agreements concerning the special status of the separatist areas around the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, and prepare for local elections scheduled for the fall. In the past, people took to the streets to protest the agreements, calling the accord a “surrender” to Russia.
Minsk is, indeed, Merkel’s betrayal of Ukraine and at best a partial surrender by Ukraine to Russia. What should govern the situation is the prior Budapest Memorandum, a collection of three agreements in which the US, Russia, and the UK guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integrity if the latter gave up the nuclear weapons the Soviet Union had stationed there prior to its collapse and disappearance. Ukraine did, bringing the guarantee into effect. That Germany was not a signatory does not make Merkel’s betrayal any less; that only made it easier.
Russia subsequently welched and invaded Ukraine, partitioning and occupying Crimea and two eastern oblasts. The Obama administration then betrayed Ukraine by refusing to answer Russia’s invasion and further by refusing to give/lease/sell/transfer in any way the weaponry Ukraine needed to resist the Russian invasion and defeat it.
This is the situation Trump and Pompeo are trying to repair. None of those pseudo-complications have anything to do with any of this.