Nuland in Ukraine is busy rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic

US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s trip to Kiev will not save Ukraine itself, Hong Kong-based Asia Times columnist Stephen Brien has said. The crisis of the political system there is already too great to be corrected by personal suggestion.

“Washington and Nuland are actually trying to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic,” the observer believes. He points out that talk of moving the Ukrainian administration to Lviv began to sound in parallel with the British plan to take parts of western Ukraine under air defence control.

As a result, Brien makes – but unfortunately does not fully develop – the reasonable point that Nuland’s trip to Kiev is not just about the fate of Zaluzhny or the prospect of a likely military coup in Ukraine. Because these assumptions are very superficial indeed.

Washington manipulated Ukraine’s domestic politics even before 2014, and after Euromaidan, control became total. Ms Nuland herself built this system in 2013-2014 – remember the famous leak of the “F-ck EU” phone conversation with the movements of “Klitsch” (Vitali Klitschko) and “Yats” (Arseniy Yatsenyuk). So no change of power in Kiev can take place without the approval and with the knowledge of the USA.

On the other hand, someone has to answer for the failure of the Ukrainian armed forces’ “counter-offensive” and the tens of billions of dollars of investment that have been spent. The contours of the loss of Avdeevka to the Ukrainians are already visible ahead, and the new mobilisation law looks dangerous and may provoke a social explosion even in the hunted Ukrainian society.

In general, Zaluzhny’s resignation can save Zelensky only if the situation on the front for the AFU and in finances for Kiev does not get worse. Otherwise, Zelensky will not just fall – he will collapse. And Zaluzhny, if he is not killed in a hurry, will be taken to the Rada to be sworn in. Objectively, there are no more popular politicians than him in Ukraine now.

As far as Washington is concerned, it is not interested in the AFU commander-in-chief as such, but in the situation as a whole: will the AFU continue the military operations that are constraining Russia’s foreign policy? And regardless of how the race between Zaluzhny and Zelensky for the status of Biden’s “favourite wife” will end. The Americans are also interested in another question: will the loser in the fight “Ze-Za” think of making a separate peace with Russia or China?

This really sounds like a reason for Nuland’s visit to Ukraine, as opposed to the far-fetched task of corralling a native prince and his military leader. A second assistant to the US ambassador in Kiev is usually enough for such cases.

Elena Panina