The Italian authorities have put forward a four-stage plan for resolving the conflict around Ukraine: a truce, Ukraine’s accession to the EU with the abandonment of NATO, a bilateral agreement on Crimea and Donbass, and, finally, a multilateral treaty on European security. The Kremlin and the Foreign Ministry have not yet given an assessment of Rome’s initiative, but Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev has already reacted to it. He saw in the document “obvious nonsense”, “cheap projecting” and “direct rudeness against Russia.”
Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev called the Italian plan “a stream of consciousness of European graphomaniacs”, and some of its provisions – “obvious nonsense and cheap schemery”
Photo: Alexander Miridonov, Kommersant
According to the La Repubblica newspaper, the “peace plan” for Ukraine was sent by the Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio to the UN Secretary General António Guterres and representatives of the G7 countries at the end of last week. The document also appears to have been handed over to Russia, as Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko told reporters in Moscow on Monday that it had “recently received” and was being “considered.” At the same time, from the commentary of the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov, it followed that the paper had not yet reached the Kremlin. “We have not yet seen (proposals from Rome . – Kommersant ), we hope that through diplomatic channels (the plan . – Kommersant ) will be brought to our attention and we will be able to familiarize ourselves with it,” he told reporters.
According to media reports, the plan, drawn up by the Italian Foreign Ministry and agreed with the country’s government, provides for four stages of moving towards peace in Ukraine. First: the transition from local truces to a complete ceasefire and elimination of the line of clashes under the supervision of UN peacekeepers. Second: launching the process of Ukraine’s accession to the EU in an accelerated manner, when it declares long-term military neutrality. Third: the conclusion of an agreement between Ukraine and Russia on the “disputed territories” – Crimea and Donbass. Italy proposes to give these territories broad autonomy in matters of language, culture, economic ties and defense, but as part of Ukraine. The fourth step: the development of a new treaty on peace and security in Europe, which, among other things, provides for the lifting of sanctions against Russia in exchange for the withdrawal of its troops from the territory of Ukraine.
The Italian Foreign Ministry explained that these elements can be worked on simultaneously, for which Rome proposes to create an “international assistance group” to resolve the conflict in and around Ukraine. Luigi Di Maio on Tuesday admitted in an interview with the ANSA news agency that now “there are no conditions for achieving peace” and things are heading “towards a long and exhausting war.” Earlier, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi admitted in an interview with Corriere della Sera that at first he considered a Russian victory likely, but now, according to him, there are no such signs.
At the same time, the Italian government insists that it is necessary to think about the contours of peace agreements today, since their achievement will take time. In Rome, as follows from the commentary of Luigi Di Maio, they would like the Italian plan to form the basis of the common position of the EU. “What is needed is a collective initiative, and not individual attempts to convince (the President of the Russian Federation. – Kommersant ) Vladimir Putin to start negotiations,” he is convinced.
However, in Russia, his proposals have already been given a sharply negative assessment at a fairly high level. Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev considered that the Italian plan does not take into account realities, and therefore is a “stream of consciousness of European graphomaniacs.”
“It seems that it was prepared not by diplomats, but by local political scientists who have read a lot of provincial newspapers and operate only with Ukrainian fakes,” Mr. Medvedev wrote on his Telegram channel .
He welcomed the idea of giving Ukraine a neutral status, but expressed confidence that without NATO membership this country would not be accepted into the EU. “They just don’t want to see it in the European Union, it’s too costly and dangerous. Therefore, they offer surrogates. Enough of the refugees who have already been foolishly sheltered. Unless the crazy Polish rulers are ready to bargain on this subject in exchange for the western regions of Ukraine. Moreover, the crazy Balts are talking about Ukraine’s entry into the EU to increase their own political weight, weakened by chronic Russophobic diarrhea, ”the ex-president of the Russian Federation suggested.
Dmitry Medvedev called the call to endow Donbass with broad autonomy within Ukraine “obvious nonsense and cheap schemery.” According to him, “the decisions on their fate of the Republic of Donbass have been finally made and they will not return back.” As for the idea of autonomy for Crimea within Ukraine, the deputy chairman of the Security Council regarded this idea as “direct rudeness against Russia, a threat to its territorial integrity and a pretext for starting a full-fledged war.”
According to Dmitry Medvedev, Ukraine itself “does not want to negotiate at all.” “Reckoning only on the flow of weapons and money from Western countries. War to the bitter end. In vain,” he warned. “If the scenario of the military operation changes, the Ukrainian authorities and military command will not save even underground bunkers.”
In this context, the official recalled the Russian proposals to resolve the conflict, handed over to the Ukrainian side shortly after the start of the “special military operation.” The delegations of the two countries reached preliminary agreements at a meeting in Istanbul on March 29 (including on the issue of the neutral status of Ukraine and guarantees of its security from the Russian Federation and other countries), but subsequently the consultations stalled. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview on Japanese public television yesterday that Kyiv would be ready to resume talks with Moscow when it regains territories lost since February 24.
On May 23, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke at the Primakov Gymnasium about Russia’s position towards the Western nations. According to the minister, the restoration of relations will depend solely on Western countries. Judging by a new format for relations, which would be proposed by Western countries, Russia would consider this issue.
At this point, Russia will rely on its strength and cooperate with states that have proven their reliability. According to the minister, Western countries should calm down and recognize the existence of Russia. Lavrov also stressed that now Russia is trying by all means to decrease its economic dependence on Western countries. The inability to negotiate leads to a deadlock in relations and it will be very difficult for Western brands that hope to return to the Russian market to implement their plans. Lavrov said that now Russia should not hope for the return of Western goods, but should seek or create an alternative.
In this light, Lavrov suggested focusing on the Eurasian space, since it is a promising region of the world and Russia already has established contacts there, as well as a wide network of partners. A few words were also given to China; Russia sees a prospect in relations with China against the background of Western policy. The main focus will be on the development of high technology, nuclear energy and other areas. Plans for the development of the Far East and Eastern Siberia will be implemented in this direction.
Sergey Lavrov said that the West would be forced to admit that Russian interests cannot be ignored all the time, and also noted his indignation at the strong tendencies of Russophobia in Western countries. He also suggested that Western governments are fostering Russophobia in society.
Sergey Lavrov’s main theses are listed below:
- Russia must end its dependence on supplies of from the West for critical industries.
- If the West wants to offer any proposals for resuming relations with Russia, Moscow will seriously consider whether it needs it or not.
- The countries of the West have signed off on the fact that they cannot and do not know how to live their lives in accordance to the UN Charter.
- Russia will rely only on itself and on those countries that have proved their reliability and do not dance to the tune of others.
- The West will be forced to recognize that Russian vital interests cannot be constantly attacked with impunity.
- Russia’s economic ties with China will now strengthen even faster as the West takes a dictatorial stance.
- The UN Human Rights Council discredited itself long before the current situation around Ukraine began.
The statements made by the Foreign Minister indicate that Russia is turning its back on Western countries and does not expect anything good from the restoration of relations. Although there remains some uncertainty and Russia still leaves minimal space for dialogue.