Since the times of Bill Clinton, every successive American president has tried to negotiate with Russia, believing that he, unlike his predecessors, will succeed. So, probably, Donald Trump thought the same before the meeting in Helsinki.
What did we get in the end? The parties remained in their positions, nothing has changed at all. However, we should point out an interesting point: those elites that support the democratic wing expressed their indignation at the fact that the head of the White House refused to accuse Russia of interfering in the US elections in 2016. However, we will speak about this below. And now, let’s look on each point.
With Putin’s words, it becomes clear that Ukraine’s security issue has been negotiated. Thus, the owner of the Kremlin noted that the parties “during the discussion of the internal Ukrainian crisis drew attention to the importance of conscientious implementation of the Minsk agreements. The United States could more resolutely insist on this and set up the Ukrainian leadership for this work”.
This phrase sounds rather provocative. And now let us explain why. Apparently, Donald Trump refused to recognize Russia’s right to Ukraine. This means that official Washington will continue to oppose Moscow in this direction.
Many people say that the agreements reached in Minsk are an ordinary paper that does not stop the Russian aggressor from killing people and seizing cities. However, it is not. The signed agreements grant the US and EU the right to impose sanctions. Moreover, the law “On Countering the Opponents of America” laid down those by-laws that dealt directly with restrictions on the Russian Federation due to the annexation of the Crimea and the occupation of certain territories of the Donbass.
All of the foregoing leads us to the conclusion that the United States will not even yield an inch and retain sanctions until Russia leaves the occupied lands of our state.
At the same time, a request from the Russian president to the US – to be more resolute with respect to Ukraine in the implementation of the Minsk agreements – testified that Washington is well aware of who does not comply with the terms of the agreement. Even more, given that Trump did not react to this statement in any way, we can say with a high degree of certainty that the White House reads the text of the agreements correctly, from the top down – first the block relating to security issues, and then everything else.
The Crimean question also remains temporarily unresolved, although there is one change: it is unlikely that anyone now will say that Trump is ready to surrender Ukrainian peninsula to the Russia.
So, answering the question of a journalist from the pool of the US presidential administration, Putin said: “The position of President Trump in the Crimea is known, he adheres to it. He speaks about the illegality of the annexation of the Crimea to Russia. We have another point of view: we believe that we held a referendum in strict accordance with international law, with the UN Charter”.
Of course, on the one hand, we can immediately note: Putin made it clear that he is not going to return the Crimean peninsula and follow international law. However, on the other hand, it becomes clear that the US president will not recognize Russia’s right to own the Crimea, which means that sanctions against the Russian Federation will continue to operate until the annexed territories will be returned to Ukraine.
All this proves the assumption that we had previously voiced – about the attempts of Russian special services to compromise Trump before the summit of the two presidents by disseminating false information in the media about the readiness to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.
Let’s recall how the BuzzFeed published an article by the American journalist of Russian origin Yulia Joffe, who claimed that during the G7 summit, Trump told the leaders of the countries that the Crimea is Russian land because most of the population speaks Russian there.
In the end, it turned out to be untrue, but right after that, another lie followed – free interpretation of Trump’s conversation with journalists on “Border Number One”. There, answering the correspondents’ question about his readiness to recognize Crimea as Russian, the American president said “We will see”. Subsequently, the White House will make a denial statement and say that the Crimea is a Ukrainian territory.
Another important result of this meeting is already in the position of Trump himself. The American president again called Putin a competitor, including in the global energy market. He let Putin clearly understand: Washington will oppose any attempts by Moscow to become a gas monopoly in Europe.
“The United States is the largest producer of oil and gas now. We will sell liquefied gas, we will compete with pipelines, and we have certain advantages. I spoke quite harshly about the pipeline (Nord Stream – 2) with Angela Merkel and we will see what will come of it. We have many sources of energy, and the United States is much better now than before. Now we are number one in the world, and I think that we will compete very much”, – Trump said.
In overall, this indicates only one thing: the United States is going to occupy a rather significant niche in the European gas market. At the same time, Russia will gradually be superseded from it. And in fact (given the sanctions, relatively low oil prices, spending on construction of pipelines and much more), Moscow is unlikely to win in this war.
And, despite Putin’s desire to please Trump, to come out to him with a request to divide the spheres of interest in the gas market, Washington is unlikely to want to evenly share the pie, most of which he can bite off.
As for the Nord Stream-2 project, the situation here is also extremely comical. So, in order to avoid sanctions and further aggravate the situation, the Russian president tried to assure his American counterpart that Russia is ready to continue to transit gas through Ukraine and extend the corresponding contract with the official Kiev. However, as Putin said, there is one thing: Ukraine (in fact) must abandon its claims in the Stockholm Arbitration regarding the payment of billion-dollar compensations from Gazprom.
It is noteworthy that the owner of the Kremlin did not say what the terms of the new agreement would be. Moreover, he forgot that the Ukrainian side, which began the process of arresting the assets of the Russian gas monopoly, decided to approach the matter pragmatically. Kiev filed another lawsuit – a review of the existing tariffs for the transit of Russian fuel.
A separate story at these negotiations is the meddling of Russia in the presidential elections in the United States. Now the American elite are discussing the summit. A large number of politicians and journalists say that Trump has more confidence in this issue to Putin’s exhortations than national intelligence. It was also strange how the head of the White House recalled the missing letters of Clinton and the lost server of the Democratic Party. However, all this is purely American business.
Another interesting thing here is Putin’s reaction. The Russian president devoted a lot of time to this issue. He suggested that Trump can use the 1999 agreement on mutual assistance in criminal cases, ask US special prosecutor Robert Mueller for help with Russian law enforcement structures so that they question the accused employees of the GRU, hackers and representatives of the trolley factory financed by Putin’s friend – Prigozhin.
Moreover, he even said that Mueller, if necessary, can come to Moscow and try to interrogate the people who are going through the case of meddle in the US elections in 2016.
By the way, it is worth noting that Trump appreciated this proposal positively.
The funny thing is that when Putin talks about his personal chef Prigogin, as an individual, comparing him to Soros, he says that he was not interested in information about 12 officers of the GRU of the RF General Staff, whom Müller accused of crimes in days. What is Putin doing? He offers his “help” in return for the surrender of the founder of the British Hermitage Capital, William Browder – a man who has made the adoption of the “Magnitsky Act” in the United States and Canada.
But the funniest thing is happened right after the meeting: the information appeared about the arrest of a Russian citizen in the US, Maria Butina, accused of espionage. It is curious that the latter was detained even Sunday – July 15. Therefore, the publication of such information immediately after the meeting, also speaks volumes!
It is known that the latter is an assistant to former senator Torshin, a man who took part in the “Spanish case”. It, as you remember, concerns the investigation of all the same Magnitsky – about the laundering of millions of means from the federal budget by Russian officials.
So, the same Butina is accused of conspiracy to work as an agent of a foreign state without appropriate notification to the US authorities.
What will the comrades from Kremlin say now? Will they tell again that they were not interested in what happened, and that Butina does not represent the interests of the Russian state?
Well, the parties, in general, did not come to anything, they did not agree on anything. The result of negotiations on the reduction of nuclear stockpiles is a note transmitted by the Russian side; Instead of economic dialogue – the creation of groups of businessmen, which, of course, do not affect the policies of countries; any rapprochement is transferred to the level of the expert group of the elders of political scientists.
But the attitude to Trump inside American society has changed. And, probably, on the eve of the congressional elections, it will only worsen. The head of the White House realized that he cannot to reach agreement with Putin, and Russia did not try to do this. And finally, it is necessary to understand everything already: Putin’s Russia is toxic.