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4 Jun, 2019 22:04

US envoy in Ukraine projects blame on Europe to cover up backing Poroshenko – analyst

US envoy in Ukraine projects blame on Europe to cover up backing Poroshenko – analyst

US special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker is throwing European allies under the bus to cover up his support for the losing candidate in the recent election and gain influence with the new president, a political analyst tells RT.

At a recent meeting of the Carnegie Foundation in Washington, DC, Volker said that President Volodymyr Zelensky’s campaign was “disappointed” with European support for the incumbent Petro Poroshenko, who in turn complained about not receiving enough support from the US.

“Volker’s attempts to deny his own active public support for Poroshenko during the election campaign look strange and duplicitous,” director of the Center for Political Studies Alexey Chesnakov told RT. “It is enough just to compare the number of meetings of the US diplomat with Poroshenko over the past year, and the content of his statements on their results, to draw the appropriate conclusions.”

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Chesnakov added that Volker’s attempt to shift the blame on “Europeans” – by which he apparently meant Berlin and Paris – was most likely a play to weaken the “Normandy Four” format for resolving the crisis in Ukraine, sidelining the influence of France and Germany while injecting the US into the proceedings. The Franco-German initiative created on the sidelines of the June 2014 commemoration of D-Day landings has involved both Moscow and Kiev, but not Washington.

Volker “clearly feels insecure on the Ukrainian terrain and does not trust Zelensky,” said Chesnakov. “Perhaps his positions have weakened greatly after such an obvious bet on Poroshenko and now he needs to somehow compensate for the apparent failure.”

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The US envoy has a convoluted relationship with Kiev, getting paid for his leadership of a think-tank through a nonprofit funded by a lobbying firm that is a registered foreign agent for Poroshenko.

Though Volker never overtly urged Ukrainians to vote for Poroshenko, he heaped praise on the incumbent president and his policies for months prior to the election. In the end, Zelensky triumphed in a landslide, winning 73 percent of the vote in the April runoff. He was sworn in as president on May 20.

According to Chesnakov, the US practices “personnel pragmatism,” instantly discarding favorites and clients the moment they lose an election or display weakness. He brought up the example of Georgia, first in 2003 with Eduard Shevardnadze and a decade later with Mikhail Saakashvili – but also Ukraine, with Viktor Yushchenko enjoying US support in 2004 and Poroshenko in 2014, only to get dumped overboard as “ballast” as soon as they failed.

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“Volker’s words can be interpreted as a warning to Zelensky – he will face the same fate as his predecessor if he relies too much on American guarantees,” Chesnakov told RT.

The US and the EU both bet on predictable Poroshenko, but were quick to change gears once upstart Zelensky won, independent journalist Mark Summers told RT.

“I think both the EU and US positions was to stick with the devil they knew in Poroshenko. Zelensky, don’t forget, was an outsider, he’s come from nowhere and therefore they are a bit worried about him,” Summers said.

Having realized they would have to work with the comedian-turned-politician from now on, the EU and US are trying to win him over with Volker's kind of rhetoric.

“I think the US... are moving quite fast to become Zelensky protectors and they are using this kind of language to minimize the EU influence over him.”

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