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US-Russian summit outcome seen as a slap for Ukraine

June 19th, 2021

A foreign policy analyst interprets the statements following the meeting between the two presidents as proof that the United States has given up on its plans to integrate Ukraine into NATO – at least for the moment.

In Magyar Nemzet, Péter G. Fehér, a veteran Russia analyst, reads the statements issued by the two presidents to mean that neither partner insisted on discussing the unresolved Ukraine problem. Moreover, President Putin quoted Mr Biden as considering the Minsk agreement as the sole basis of a solution. The Minsk protocol, signed by Ukraine and the two secessionist Russian-speaking East-Ukrainian republics in September 2014, states that those territories should enjoy a special status, to be enshrined in the Ukrainian constitution. This is, however, adamantly opposed by President Zelensky. What’s more, Fehér continues, Zelensky tabled a bill in May on securing the rights of autochthonous nationalities. By autochthonous, the bill refers only to ethnic groups which have no countries outside Ukraine. This means that  Russians, Hungarians, Romanians and others will not enjoy the same rights. Fehér interprets these developments as signs that Zelensky is becoming hostage to extreme nationalist forces. Meanwhile, he continues, the Ukrainian president would also like to become a NATO member, but the two aspirations mutually exclude each other, because his nationalist intransigence will make the settlement in East Ukraine impossible. And as long as that crisis persists, NATO cannot integrate Ukraine.

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