Petro Poroshenko’s visit to Paris this Wednesday seems to have ended more as a personal holiday for the Chocolate King of Ukraine than a meaningful mission to Champs Elysees.
His meeting with Hollande focused on three impossible-to-grant requests: that Europe open its borders to Ukrainian citizens and allow them visa-free access to the EU; that the EU send a peace-keeping force to Donbass; and that France sell Kiev weapons to continue its aggresion on the residents of Donbass. That the latter two requests cancelled each other out, that they make no rational sense whatsoever – you want a peacekeeping force and you want weapons to continue a war in the conflict area where you wish to have EU peace-keeping take place at the same time? — seems not to have occurred to or not to have bothered Porosheno and his immediate advisors.
The first of the three, the one the then Ukrainian opposition – the guys now in government, having originally got there by force of arms in 2014, by violence and an unconstitutional coup d’etat, and having since entrenched their grip on power by pretending the unconstitutional take-over never really took place — was a key promise and the sweetest carrot dangled before the Maidan crowds, who stood outside for months, braving the winter cold of Kiev, in the hope that the EU would open its doors to them and let them pour out of a country in which they no longer saw any economic future for themselves.
Hollande’s now made it absolutely clear to Poroshenko and Kiev that visa-free travel to any part of the EU is simply not on the cards for the citizens of Ukraine, some of whom have been taking to the streets recently to protest the new regime’s economic policies and the disaster the U.S. meddling into Ukraine’s internal politics has brought about. What remains to be seen now is just how clearly Poroshenko will relay Hollande’s message to the public at home and the news that France refuses to sell Ukraine any arms – as well as how the Ukrainians who have every reason to feel they’d been mislead and manipulated by both the EU and the opposition-that-turned-into-a-new-regime will react to the cold reality that the way to Europe is now closed to them and that their economy is now sinking further and further, drained not only by Kiev’s kleptocratic oligarchs but also by the fratricidal war on Donbass.
How the Ukrainian media will handle this may be reflected by the complete silence the mainstream media of the English-speaking world has observed on it. Not a single member of the so-called free press has yet found it appropriate to acquaint their readers and viewers with the outcome of Poroshenko’s visit to Paris.