While visiting Lithuania, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a joint press conference with his host, President Gitanas Nauseda, in Vilnius, the capital, in which he advocated bringing the U.S. into the Normandy Format.
The latter was established in 2014 after the U.S.-supported coup in Ukraine and the start of the ongoing war in the Donbass. Its members are Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany. Bringing Washington into the process is analogous to Mexico inviting Russia to mediate border and immigration issues with the U.S.
The Ukrainian head of state, not noted for his statesmanship or finesse, bluntly blurted out: “If we see deceleration in the Normandy format, I say frankly about this, I think that there is a deceleration. Therefore, I want countries – strong countries, powerful geopolitical players – to join the format so that they can influence the Russian Federation, which means the end of the war in Ukraine.” Ending the war, that is, by driving Russia and its Black Sea Fleet out of Crimea and subjugating the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. The U.S. is decidedly, particularly in military terms, a strong country and a powerful geopolitical player.
In fact Zelensky highlighted its potency in calling for “U.S. power to help Ukraine put an end to this tragedy in the center of Europe in the 21st century.”
At roughly the same time the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Lithuania, with their Polish counterpart, also met in Vilnius in the context of the Lublin Triangle alliance of the three nations. It was recently announced that the U.S. will lead war games this month in Ukraine with the joint military unit of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade.
As to where that brigade may eventually be deployed and for which purpose, the contents of two documents signed by the foreign ministers, Lublin Triangle: Roadmap for Further Cooperation and the Declaration on European Heritage and Common Values, as well as comments by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will help one understand.
According to Ukrinform‘s synopsis of the first document, it “confirms Ukraine’s European perspective, condemns Russian aggression, the temporary occupation of Ukrainian territories and Russia’s destructive actions in the Black Sea.” It also unequivocally supports the Crimean Platform initiative to expel Russia and its fleet from Crimea and pledges the three nations to “work closely together to ensure the de-occupation of the Crimean peninsula.”
The document identified four concerns and areas for common action:
- Russian aggression against Ukraine
- The militarization of the Black Sea region [by Russia and not the U.S. and NATO, of course]
- The situation in Belarus
- Threats from the Nord Stream 2 project
A separate section of the document confirmed Ukraine’s road to NATO according to the decisions of the NATO summits of 2008 and 2021.
The Ukrainian foreign minister added this diatribe, characteristic of his reductionist and abrasive style of “diplomacy”:
“Today we signed and adopted important documents of the Lublin Triangle. They reflect our common European past, our common response to modern challenges and a common future for Ukraine in the EU and NATO, together with Poland and Lithuania. The Lublin Triangle is strengthening, being filled with practical mechanisms of interaction and gaining new importance. In fact, we offer an alternative to the ‘Russian world’ in our region.”
The ministers of nations with a combined population of 86 million also directed their collective attention to a state they all border, Belarus, with a population of 9.5 million. The two NATO members and NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner vowed to “support the Belarusian people in their just aspiration to live in a free democratic country where human rights are protected.”
Ukraine’s Kuleba promoted the concept of incorporating Belarusian “civil society” in Lublin Triangle activities.
Presumably, then, if subversion in the color revolution mode proves unsuccessful, the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade can be activated, and to assist it the 10,000 troops assigned to NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroups and the U.S.’s Operation Atlantic Resolve in Lithuania, Poland, Estonia and Latvia.