Possible topics for the visit of Western leaders to Kyiv have been named
Macron, Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Draghi were going to fly to Kyiv to Zelensky on June 16, the Italian edition La Stampa reported. And although there is no official confirmation of this information yet, it sounds plausible. It is Germany, Italy and France that will be first of all fired in the Ukrainian establishment for “insufficient assistance” and balancing between Russia and Ukraine. We tried to predict the possible course of negotiations.
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Apparently, no one initially wanted to make the visit public. Berlin and Rome do not comment on La Stampa data, and the French side stated that Macron's visit to Kyiv is not scheduled for the designated date.
Such discrepancies in incoming information may not be due to political confusion, but to banal considerations security: since February 2022, many high-level visits to Ukraine or nearby territories have been accompanied by conflicting announcements, but in the end they took place.
The Italian press was not the first to report on a group trip by European leaders. The German publication Bild also wrote about the planned visit, linking it to the desire of Draghi, Macron and Scholz to have time to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky before the upcoming G7 summit – the “Big Seven” – scheduled for June 26-28. However, the leaders of the EU countries have other, even stricter time frames, because a few days earlier (June 24-25) there will be a meeting at the EU level.
The exact agenda of the hypothetical meeting between the European trinity and Zelensky is, of course, unknown, but sources suggest that it will be, first of all, about unblocking Ukrainian ports and freeing up ships carrying wheat. They have been trapped since the beginning of spring, thus causing serious concerns around the world, because Ukraine accounts for a significant share of grain exports. For example, Turkey has already offered to mediate in breaking the deadlock, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a recent visit to Ankara, stressed that the food problem and the Russian special operation should not be linked, and highly appreciated Turkish efforts.
French radio station Europe 1 talks about the possible arrival of Macron in Kyiv not in the next few days, but within a couple of weeks. According to these data, the president may discuss with the Ukrainian counterpart the next arms deliveries. However, separately this version sounds untenable: arms aid arrives in Ukraine in such volumes that the need to coordinate each shipment has long been eliminated.
At the same time, as Dmitry Danilov, head of the European Security Department at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, noted in a conversation with MK, the goals of a possible trip by Draghi, Macron and Scholz to Kyiv may be purely political and related to the ongoing process of rapprochement between Ukraine and the EU.
“Firstly, European leaders, in principle, need to constantly demonstrate support for Zelensky. Secondly, right now we are talking about the possibility of granting Ukraine the status of a candidate for EU membership, the expert recalled. – It is likely that at the moment there is uncertainty in the European Union on this issue, and the leaders understand this. There are serious objections to the Ukrainian candidacy, primarily from the Netherlands and Denmark.
In this regard, it suffices to recall that the Dutch authorities at one time already refused to ratify the association agreement between Ukraine and the EU. This then led to a serious crisis, despite the pressure exerted by the union. Now, of course, the position of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte will also be taken into account by the partners. As well as the fact that he is able to defend it quite tough. It is clear that other politicians need to meet with Zelensky tête-à-tête and describe the current state of affairs in the European Union.”
Undoubtedly, specific demands will be made to the Ukrainian authorities in the framework of European integration, Dmitry Danilov believes.
“The situation is variable: despite objections within the EU, the status of a candidate for Ukraine can be granted, but with significant reservations. This is normal for the political practice of the European Union. We can talk about both technical issues and serious conditions under which a country will be able to maintain its status. In case of violation, Ukraine can be excluded from the list of candidates.
Such requirements usually relate to control over financial flows, the general state of the economy, and the principles of the rule of law. So far, the European Commission (its head Ursula von der Leyen recently visited Kyiv, where she promised Ukraine candidate status. — “MK”) cannot enlist the unanimous support of the EU member states.
In the current situation, Ukraine is even further from membership or candidate status than before, for obvious reasons (this was also pointed out by Macron – “MK” after the start of the special operation). And now the leaders from Europe need to provide Kyiv with an explanation of how to bridge the “scissors” between possible EU decisions and the current state of Ukraine in terms of the prospects for its membership in the union,” the expert concluded.