Will Russia trade Ukraine for Syria?

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October 25, 2016 – Fort Russ – 

Yurasumy, PolitRussia – translated by J. Arnoldski – 

“Lately, the rumor has spread that someone is pressuring us, twisting our arms, and trying to exchange Ukraine for Syria. Don’t you remember how many such rumors there have been?…There is no exchange of Ukraine’s position for Syria.” – Petro Poroshenko 

I rarely agree with the opinion of Petro Poroshenko, but today I do. Starting in May 2016, negotiations and talks were held and Victoria Nuland and John Kerry brought proposals to Russia which Moscow consistently rejected. That was then, back in May, but today no one is twisting Poroshenko’s arms or is willing to exchange Ukraine for Syria. No one is doing this, because Russia doesn’t need this. Russia is going to take everything.

How it all started

When Moscow began its military operation against ISIS and other terrorists in Syria, the US hoped that Russia would get bogged down in this conflict for a long time to come, that Syria would drain Russia’s resources and forces so that we would be too busy for Ukraine. To this end, everything possible was done, first and foremost the provocation of November 24th, 2015, when a Turkish fighter shot down a Russian Su-24 over Syria.

Many people thought that Moscow ended up caught in a trap with no way out. February and March 2016 were the most difficult period, as the US and EU threw their last arguments onto the table.

First they offered Turkey comprehensive assistance in fighting Russia, and secondly they agreed with Turkey on migrants and provided Ankara with financial assistance. They even hinted that a rapprochement between the EU and Turkey was quite possible in the near future. 

But Erdogan turned out to not be so foolish to dive head first into the American trap and walk over hot coals for them. He has no need for an independent Kurdistan at all. In December 2015, Erdogan tried to make amends and gave Moscow clear hints that were heard in the spring. At precisely that moment, the enterprising Yankees proposed that Russia trade the Middle East for Ukraine. In May 2016, Victoria Nuland and John Kerry visited Moscow one after the other.

In Kiev, politicians awaited the worst and hoped that everything would work out. They hoped and waited that they and their loyal and unscrupulous “principles” would not be traded away in Vladimir Putin’s favor. The Russian president, once again, did not disappoint.

The Turkish gambit 

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Washington didn’t manage to prepare another option for a trade off for Moscow before Vladimir Putin gave Ankara the green light to offer an apology. At the end of May and early June 2016, events rushed into a gallop. The problems that the US threw at Russian-Turkish relations evaporated one after another with incredible speed unusual for diplomacy. By June 20th, the two countries concluded a major agreement and immediately ruined Washington’s geopolitical balance of focres. The US then made a fatal mistake.

In mid-July 2016, a military coup in Turkey failed. President Erdogan not only remained in power, but began to completely clean up all of the pro-American fifth Column in the country. Meanwhile, relations between Ankara and Moscow developed into a mutually beneficial strategic partnership in several key areas (namely, Europe and the Middle East).

In the end, this caused a domino effect and the Americans’ allies’ dominos fell one after another.

The biggest loss was Saudi Arabia which, soberly assessing the new geopolitical balance of forces in the region, began negotiating with the winners to try to reduce their future losses and simply buy time.

In such a situation, continuing negotiations with the outgoing administration in the White House on exchanging territories would have been plain foolish. The US understood that it had lost, and Washington’s delayed reaction was predictable. Not only Russia, but also the main “traitors,” Turkey and Saudi Arabia, were deemed guilty before “humanity.”

Success in Syria and preparations for returning Ukraine

Today, the situation with “territory trade offs” looks just like Petro Poroshenko described it – no one is exchanging anything. It does not make sense for Russia to exchange what is already being saved in its reserves. In the Middle East, our positions have been greatly strengthened over the year. Moscow has found new sincere allies, and Russia has brought with it in its political wake those regional powers who have according interests. Meanwhile, the US is losing one position after another.

The same thing is happening in Ukraine. The peak of American power in the country lasted from the middle of 2014 until the beginning of 2015. The local elites started to confront their new bosses just like they resisted the “brotherly embrace” of Moscow before. Already today, Russia is encircling Ukraine economically, politically, and is preparing to kick the Americans out of the area in the next few years.

The situation in the EU is no better for the US. Their proposals to create a free trade zone have finally been rejected. More Russophile regimes will come to power in EU countries in future elections and will start to throw a wrench in the works of American ‘democracy” more actively than Kiev is doing such today.

What is there to exchange in this situation? What does the US have to offer Russia so that Vladimir Putin would exchange something acceptable? Poroshenko already understands. 

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