Poroshenko has to show to Trump why the US should support Ukraine — expert

June 19, 2017

Ukraine is very often perceived as the object, but not the subject in domestic American global game.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during his negotiations with US President Donald Trump in Washington will discuss the ways of Donbas conflict resolution. One of the key objectives is to convince Trump to continue the course of supporting Ukraine and strengthen sanctions as one of the most effective instruments of countering Russian aggression against Ukraine. Co-Director of Foreign Policy and International Security Programs of the Razumkov Centre Oleksiy Melnyk told to “Segodnya” newspaper.

According to him, the success of the negotiations will depend on Poroshenko’s ability to confirm that Ukraine is the subject of the international relations.

“If you follow the debate in Washington political circles and the media, the main issue of US-Russia relations is the investigation of possible Russian interference in US elections, and links between current US Administration officials and Russian representatives, including special services. When this became known, there are some facts of how some US officials concerned tried to hide the evidences. This is exactly what debates are about. Of course, this obstacle affects Trump’ decisions or behavior, as he is not interested in showing his intention or taking practical steps towards rapprochement with Russia because it will be perceived as a confirmation of the allegations. Unfortunately, in this domestic US global game Ukraine is the object, but no the subject. It is obviously, that if President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko can confirm that Ukraine is the subject of the international relations and show the reasons why the US should support Ukraine it can be considered as success, — said Oleksiy Melnyk.

When asked whether to change the format of negotiations on Donbas, which US Department of State assumed on June 16, 2017, expert said that, to someone’s mind, the endless repetition about no alternatives to Minsk format became outdated. However, Russia would deliberately not agreed to new formats and alternatives, which is gainless to Moscow.

Today, the assumption that the new format will be much better and actually lead to conflict resolution is untimely. But the fact that these ideas start emerging from official sources is positive. At the same time any proposals, which do not fit the Kremlin strategy to view the conflict as a civil war, as the internal conflict in Ukraine and the role of Russia as a mediator and a security guarantor are likely to be rejected by Russia from the very beginning. If we say about the new format, it is not only about the change of its composition, but primarily a change of Russia’s status as a conflict side, but not a mediator. This aspect is very problematic, — said Oleksiy Melnyk.

Regarding the formalization of war status with Russia, which is actively discussed in Ukrainian politics, today there is no political will for this.

There is the intention to abandon ATO format. I will not repeat everything connected to this, the reasons are obvious, but at the same time, I don’t see the political will to bring the conflict in accordance with international law and Ukrainian legislation, namely the formalization of war status between the two countries. Hereby, I would like to highlight that we are not talking about proclamation by Ukraine a war to Russia. We talk about fixing the fact that the two countries are in the status of war and also about taking appropriate measures, including formalization of the status of war, the aggressor and the occupied territories. It is not only special districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, but also illegally annexed Crimea, — concluded Razumkov Centre’s expert.

As newspaper “Segodnya” previously reported, on June 19-20, 2017 President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko will visit Washington where he meets with US President Donald Trump for the first time.

In addition, today US Department of State Heather Noyert said that the US can support alternative to Minsk process format if it will be elaborated and will lead to peace.

Oleksiy Melnyk

Co-Director, Foreign Relations and International Security Programmes, Coordinator of International Projects

Born in 1962 in Khmelnytsty Rgn


Royal College of Defence Studies, London, UK (2007)

Air Field Operations Officer School, Biloxy, MS, US (2001)

Squadron Officer School, Montgomery, AL, US (1994)

Defence Language Institute, San Antonio, TX, US (1994)

Chernihiv Higher Military Air Force Academy, Ukraine (1984)


1980 – 2001 — Air Force Active Service (Cadet, Instructor Pilot, Flight Commander, Squadron Commander, Deputy Air Force Base Commander, Participant of two UN peacekeeping operations, Lt.Colonel (Ret)

2001 – 2004 — Razumkov Centre

2004 – 2005 — State Company Ukroboronservice

2005 – 2008 — Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, Head Organisational and Analytical Division — First Assistant to Minister of Defence

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