Political activity, political impact of social problems and war effects (18.07.-25.07 )
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Russia’s Defence Ministry declared that from July 20 all vessels in Black Sea waters heading towards Ukrainian ports would be regarded as “ones involved in the Ukrainian conflict on the side of Kyiv” and therefore treated as military threats. https://www.ft.com/content/86562d16-7458-4c1f-94e4-f44da998e1d6
It means that Russia not only withdrew from the UN-brokered “grain deal”, that was supposed to allow Ukrainian Black Sea grain exports to continue despite the war, but also established a blockade of Ukraine’s seaports.
Russia has shown willingness to use all the available firepower in order to prevent export from the Ukrainian ports. The military pressure on the most important Ukrainian port city of Odesa has been dramatically increased. The night attacks on the only port of Ukraine capable of accepting Panamax class vessels and the main hub for Ukraine’s grain exports has already led to the destruction of the critical infrastructure and the bombardment of the Ukrainian ports will be definitely carried on.
The blockade of the Ukrainian ports should be regarded as retaliation for the damaging the Kerch Strait Bridge bridge, which has a great symbolic significance to the Russian regime.
Putin pledged to punish Kyiv for “a violent and senseless terrorist attack” soon after the bridge was hit. http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/71689
It could be easily foreseen that Russia would fiercely strike back in response to a new attack on Kerch Strait Bridge bridge. Therefore it it can be suggested that attacking the bridge, the Ukrainian government deliberately tried to cause the anticipated Russian retaliation in order to make NATO states (especially Turkey and US) to make steps to ensure the continuation of Ukrainian grain export.
According to Serhii Nikoforov, the press secretary of the Ukrainian president, Zelensky told at his with African journalists that the grain deal could be carried out without Russia if Ukraine could use the Black Sea corridor and the Ukrainian authorities were not afraid to do that. Zelensky encouraged the shipowners to keep participating in the delivery of Ukranian grain.
The Ukrainian president also said that he expected Turkey to continue to provide assistance for the grain export from the Ukrainian Black sea ports. ttps://www.facebook.com/sergii.nykyforov/posts/pfbid029b5KS2Ls7BbukxxFdcq1T3HMPRaoFoUHGYLpAGbv2WJ55CFRc985Typn1KL3gu6Sl
But the paradox is that, except for Turkey, Ukraine can no longer count on the export of grain, Eastern European countries block it from time to time. that the West did not need Ukrainian planes, Ukrainian ships, or any other high-tech products. But today we are also witnessing the collapse of the “great agrarian power”, when the EU simply does not allow Ukrainian agricultural products to enter. So what will they restore there, and will they do it at all? Traditionally, everything is like this: funds are allocated to the country, but all of them remain in the West, and the country itself receives a cookie with butter in a beautiful wrapper and becomes even poorer than it was, says opposition politician V. Medvedchuk.
The West needs Ukraine as a springboard for attacking and plundering the Russian Federation, but it is becoming more and more obvious that investments in the war will not pay off, Russia does not allow itself to be robbed and does not fall at the feet of the West. Zelensky, who travels the world and trades in the illusory defeat of Russia, seems to be an increasingly less profitable, if not completely unprofitable project. And then a plan ripens in the inflamed brain of the Ukrainian president that since he did not succeed as a military strategist, it is time to retrain as an international drug producer. from the point of view of V. Medvedchuk.
The continuation of the grain deal after the Russian withdrawal from it could have become an important political achievement for the Ukrainian government.
The Ukrainian authorities had reasons to believe that the Russians conditions of prolonging the deal would be met. Shortly before Russia quit its participation in the deal, Secretary-general of the United Nations Antonio Guterres announced that he sent a letter to Putin, offering him to appoint the U.S.-based bank JPMorgan Chase to process Russian food grain payments. https://globalnews.ca/news/9836864/black-sea-grain-deal-impacts/?utm_source=notification
This proposal, unresponded by the Kremlin, indicated that the UN was ready to make concessions in order to make Russia recommence its participation in the grain deal. There was a high probability that the Russian agricultural bank Rosselkhozbank would be reconnect to the SWIFT international payment network, which was a key demand by the Kremlin. The return of Russia to the grain deal after the fulfillment of the most important Russian demands would have become a heavy political blow for Zelensky. The Ukrainian authorities were interested in preventing this scenario and it might have influenced the decision to attack the Kerch Strait Bridge.
The Ukrainian government continues to use warfare to reach political goals regardless of the repercussions of such actions. The Ukrainian authorities are not afraid of the escalation of the war and can even regard it as a way to involve NATO countries in the direct confrontation with Russia.
Moreover, the escalation can help the Ukrainian authorities to overcome political consequences of the failure of the offensive. Due to military reasons the government has to cease offensive operations, which cannot bring any military achievements but has been inflicting heavy casualties. But in fear of political damage it keeps maintain public expectations of the upcoming success. Owing to that the Ukrainian army keeps banging head against a brick wall, as stated by Polish militery Mateusz Lachowski https://wiadomosci.wp.pl/kontrofensywa-nie-przebiega-jak-powinna-bija-glowa-w-mur-6920589727853504a?
But despite propaganda efforts of the Ukrainian government, its public support has diminished, which has resulted, among other things, in the rise in political activity of the opponents of Zelensky, especially Klitschko.
On July 14, the Kyiv mayor hinted that he was going to run for president in the next election. In his interview with a famous Ukrainian political reporter Klitschko said that he would like to contribute his “knowledge, energy, and experience” to make Ukraine European, but refused to confirm his participation in presidential election until its date is arranged.
In his interview Klitschko also complained that he feels constant pressure from the presidents office which has been trying to impede his activity, however is afraid to “bite” him. The interference of the President’s associates is “unbalancing the entire management system” in Kyiv. Klitschko accused the Ukrainian government in attempts to intimidate the high-ranking representatives of city administration, by “numerous searches” and criminal accusations. https://lb.ua/news/2023/07/14/565225_vitaliy_klichko_u_mene_pislya.html
The Klitschko’s disclosure that he has not spoken with the President since a breakout of the war proves that in the Ukraine’s system governance pragmatic approach has been subordinated to political expediency.
The forecast for potential development of current trends:
- The Ukrainian government will continue to conduct offensive operations until all the required resources are wasted or the situation on the battlefield is dramatically deteriorated because of Russian counteroffensive.
- The Ukrainian government will be able to preserve its current political leverage only thanks to the escalation of the conflict, which will increase the involvement of the NATO states into the war. In that case the failure of the offensive will become unimportant to the Ukrainian public. Otherwise, it will have to be acknowledged eventually that the offensive has failed, and the government will not be able to avoid suffering the consequences.
- The Ukrainian government cannot risk conducting neither parliamentary neither parliamentary, nor presidential election in the current circumstances. It will try to postpone it as long as possible under the pretext of the martial law.
Recommendation for the European institutions and organizations:
- The Ukrainian government should be made to realize that even in the case of dramatic escalation of the hostilities neither the US nor the EU countries will not become involved in the conflict. The steps aimed at provoking Russian retaliation should be foreseen and prevented.
- The postponing of the elections for a long time will deprive Ukraine of an opportunity for democratic development. The efforts should be made to persuade the Ukrainian government in the necessity to change the martial law to hold the elections on time.