The incumbent Ukrainian government displays no intention to return Donbass and inability to return Crimea, Russian and Ukrainian experts said during the Monday online conference in TASS, dedicated to the first year of Vladimir Zelensky’s presidency.
"The incumbent [Ukrainian] government does not want [to return] Donbass [under its control] and speaks about Crimea only to say something. They treat the Crimean issue as a point of a mandatory program. If they found a political will to unite and say ‘we do not want Donbass, let us cement the status quo and restore some economic ties’, that would be the end of story," said Mikhail Pogrebinsky, director of the Kiev Center for Political Studies and Conflictology. "In theory, this is possible. But in practice, this requires a political will to acknowledge the reality. In reality, this will never happen."
The experts noted that Kiev has no compelling reason to implement the Minsk Agreements. "Zelensky must enter conflicts to change the situation, but he is a businessman, he does not like conflicts," said Ruslan Bortnik, director of the Ukrainian Institute of Politics. "The Nobel Peace Prize is a motivation for such people, and the current political leadership of Ukraine basically has no motivation and reason to implement the Minsk agreements," TASS reports.
Neither can public opinion provide enough motivation, because, according to Alexei Chesnakov, the leading expert at the Center for Current Policy (Russia), "the Ukrainian public wants peace on its own terms, [it wants] victory over Donbass; there is no sentiment that peace is needed at any cost," and Zelensky’s team "cultivates this attitude."
"If we talk about Crimea, they lack a 'wish' here, whereas concerning Donbass — they just don't want to. This is the core restraining factor of the Ukrainian policy towards these two territories," he concluded.