“Shuttle diplomacy”

“Shuttle diplomacy”

Alexey Zakvasin

Paris, with the support of Turkey and Greece, intends to try to evacuate part of the inhabitants of Ukrainian Mariupol from the war zone. This was stated by French President Emma-nuel Macron. According to him, in the near future he will discuss this plan with Vladimir Putin. However, now most of the residents of Mariupol are leaving along the green corridor to the DPR and Russia, where they are provided with humanitarian and medical assistance. Part of the civilian nationalists do not let out of the city, using them as human shields. According to experts, Macron’s initiative is divorced from reality and dictated to a greater extent by pre-election PR, as well as the desire to play a more prominent role in international affairs.
Emmanuel Macron announced plans to hold talks with Vladimir Putin in order to organize the evacuation of residents of Mariupol. He told reporters about this during a press conference following the EU summit. According to the French leader, Turkey and Greece are ready to assist Paris.
“Today we had a specific discussion with the mayor of Mariupol. We will coordinate efforts and then we will negotiate with the Russians. As soon as possible. We hope in the coming days. In the next 48-72 hours, I will have a conversation with President Putin to agree on the details and conditions. You can’t delay,” Macron said.
Moscow has not yet commented on the initiative voiced by the President of France. However, experts interviewed by RT expres-sed bewilderment about Macron’s statement about his readiness to conduct a humanitarian operation tog-ether with Turkey and Greece.
“Now the vast majority of Mariupol residents have left, the rest are being held by nationalists. Therefore, the humanitarian situation in the city can only stabilize with its final release. The only thing I can assume is that Macron decided to try to take out the local Greeks, but they, most likely, have already left. Or, under the guise of civilians, withdraw Ukrainian militants from the city, ”Rostislav Ishche-nko, president of the Center for System Analysis and F-orecasting, shared his opinion in an interview with RT.
Pavel Feldman, Deputy Director of the RUDN Institute for Strategic Studies and Forecasts, believes that Macron’s initiative has little chance of being implemented. In a RT commentary, the expert noted that hostilities are still ongoing in the city, and Russia and the DPR authorities are dealing with humanitarian issues.
“Hypothetically, France, with the support of Turkey, could lay a sea corridor, taking some of the inhabitants of Mariupol. But in general, it is very difficult for me to comment on such an initiative – it looks divorced from the real situation and is hardly dictated by the desire to really help the people of Mariupol, ”said Feldman.
Experts recalled that the humanitarian corridor through which civilians leave Mariupol has been operating for a long time, and negotiations with Mayor Vadim Boychenko do not make sense, since he fled the city a long time ago and de facto does not control the situation.
On March 23, in the Telegram channel of the Mariupol City Council, the chairman of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration, Pavel Kirilenko, announced that the mayor had left the city. According to him, now Boychenko, being outside Mariupol, in cooperation with the authorities of Zaporozhye, is allegedly trying to create a corridor for the withdrawal of civilians to the territory controlled by Kiev, since the Russian military is allegedly forcibly taking civilians to the territory of Russia.
Earlier, despite the dire humanitarian situation in Mariupol, the Ukrainian a-uthorities began to obstruct the evacuation of residents along the humanitarian corridors organized by Russia.
The fighters of the neo-Nazi Azov regiment also resisted the departure of the population along the gum corridor in the Russian Federation. It is beneficial for the militants to leave as many civilians as possible in the city in order to hide behind them as a human shield, thereby slowing down the advance of the Russian troops and the DPR militia.
According to the Minist-ry of Defense of the Russ-ian Federation, almost all residents of Mariupol expr-essed a desire to move exc-lusively to Russia or to the settlements of the Zaporoz-hye and Kherson regions controlled by the Russian army.
In addition to the Russian military, the DPR authorities are actively assisting in the evacuation of civilians. Residents of the city are also helped to leave by RT employees who are at the scene. However, there are still many people in Mariupol who are intimidated and not released by the nationalists.
On March 23, one of the residents of Mariupol, in a conversation with RT, suggested that people left their homes due to shelling from the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. She herself left the city on March 15 along the highway from the village of Volodarskoye – it was there that the DPR authorities organized a green corridor.
“Very nice, friendly people (employees of the People’s Militia of the DPR. – RT ). They treated us with sweets… They gave us water for the journey, they told us how to drive properly,” the woman shared her emotions.
Other residents of Mariupol speak about the polite and caring attitude of the military of the LDNR and Russia. So, in one of the materials of the KP correspondent Dmitry Steshin, footage of communication with a resident of Mariupol, Yevgeny, was published. With a one-year-old son in his arms, he also left Mariupol along the gum corridor from Volodarsky. According to the man, the Russian military gave him and other townspeople their dry rations and brought water.
According to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, food, medicines and water are constantly delivered to the residents of Mariupol. This is done both by charitable foundations and volunteer organizations, as well as by the Russian military department itself, which on March 14 launched a humanitarian operation in this city. Wounded civilians are taken to the DPR or Russia for treatment.
Currently, Russian troops and militia are close to the complete liberation of Mariupol. In recent days, the administration and the Levoberezhny district of the city have come under the control of the advancing forces. The cleansing of neighborhoods where the nationalists are hiding continues.
Election PR and fuss
Experts interviewed by RT believe that Western states are not in a position to influence the situation in Mariupol in any way. They explain Macron’s attempt to organize a green corridor, first of all, by “working for the rating” on the eve of the elections.
Recall that in April presidential elections will be held in France. Voting will take place in two rounds: April 10 and 24. In addition to the current head of the Fifth Republic, Emanuel Macron, four more politicians are running for president: representatives of the right camp Marine Le Pen (National Rally Party) and Eric Zemmour (Reconqui-sta), conservative Valerie Pecresse (Republicans) and socialist Jean- Luc Mélenchon (“Unsubdued France”). So far, sociologists predict the victory of the incumbent president.
Pavel Feldman believes that Macron was able to improve his electoral positions largely due to PR on various initiatives related to Ukraine and relations betw-een the West and Moscow. And the current geopolitical aggravation, according to the expert, has objectively increased the chances of the French president to win.
“The situation in the world has deteriorated greatly. When this happens, the people, as a rule, do not change the leaders of the country. And the French are likely to support the incumbent head of state. In addition, Macron scored points by positioning himself as a peacemaker in the Ukrainian crisis and a mentor in the showdown between the West and Russia. Another thing is that he did not achieve real results in resolving contradictions, but he was able to do a good job of promoting himself, ”Feldman noted.
At the same time, according to the expert, Macron’s diplomatic and media activity is to a certain extent intended to hide France’s political weakness in resolving global and regional security problems.
“The shuttle diplomacy that Macron has been engaged in since the beginning of winter changes absolutely nothing. France wants to play a more important role in international relations, but we see that these ambitions are little supported. Macron fusses, expresses his point of view on every occasion, but the effect of his statements is, in fact, zero, ”Feldman argues.
Rostislav Ishchenko also believes that France is unable to influence the Ukrainian situation and Moscow’s position. Nevertheless, Macron does not give up his attempts to increase his importance in international affairs, especially after the resignation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was his unspoken competitor.
“Macron clearly decided to appear in the eyes of Europe as a strong leader and win informal competition from the new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. However, all the efforts of the French president are now focused on elections and positioning himself as a strong pan-European politician. The escalation of the conflict in Ukraine helped him in terms of PR, but Macron does not really care about the fate of the inhabitants of Mariupol and Ukraine as a whole,” summed up Ishchenko.

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