Russian media disseminated a story this week claiming that the European Union leadership had changed its position on the war in eastern Ukraine and was considering a Russian plan for ending the conflict. Russian website Ukraina.ru in particular claims that US Special Representative for Ukraine recently made such an announcement, but in reality, Mr. Volker never made any such declarations.
Ukraina.ru presents the opinion of a political analyst – Dmitri Snyegurov as fact – that US special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker is traveling to Ukraine to notify the Ukrainian president that Ukraine’s western allies have decided that the Russian peacekeeping plan for regulating the conflict in eastern Ukraine should be implemented. As an example of Europe’s changed position Snyegurov cites Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini.
In an interview with the Russian publication Kommersant all Soini said was: “Russia’s initiative about peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine has caused some interest in the European Union and we want to hear more.”
During the September UN General Assembly meeting Russia called for peacekeepers along the line of conflict in eastern Ukraine, but not along the Russia-Ukraine border where weapons and fighters can easily cross.
In a program called “Mesto Vstrechi” (the meeting place) Russian state television channel NTV claims that the West is fed up with Kyiv, the EU has changed its position on the conflict in eastern Ukraine and Kurt Volker is coming to Ukraine to have a stern conversation with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
Volker has never said that Europe’s position regarding Ukraine has changed. In every public interview, including those he gave to Russian media, Volker reiterates that the purpose of a peacekeeping mission in Ukraine is to ensure security in the entire conflict zone and not only on the line of conflict, but on the border between Russia and Ukraine.
“That’s not acceptable to anybody and does not restore the territory,” he said. “On the other hand, if we can establish a peacekeeping force and build that concept into one that is covering the entire contested area, that is containing heavy weapons and that is controlling the Ukraine-Russian border from the Ukrainian side, then there is a lot of promise in that.”
“That’s where both governments are right now seeing whether it is possible to expand this concept into one that would be truly meaningful and helpful,” he added.