Destinations Magazine

Russia and Ukraine: Ratchet Up, Ratchet Down

By Stizzard
Russia and Ukraine: Ratchet up, ratchet down

ON JUNE 18th the Ukrainian crisis, which has slid into a nasty and increasingly bloody civil war of late, took a small step backwards to possible de-escalation. After talking to Vladimir Putin, his Russian counterpart, Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, declared a unilateral ceasefire in the east to give time for anti-government insurgents either to leave Ukraine or to give up their weapons. However, the fighting around Donetsk and Luhansk now has its own self-perpetuating logic, driven by daily skirmishes between rebel militiamen with unclear allegiances and poorly trained, ill-equipped Ukrainian troops. Decisions taken in Kiev, or in Moscow for that matter, may have little effect on the ground.The insurgents in the east were quick to say they would not abide by the ceasefire. The real danger is that, ever since the fall of Viktor Yanukovych in late February, rational solutions to the crisis in Ukraine have “not been in demand” in Moscow, according to Sergey Utkin of the Department of Strategic Assessment at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Instead of a stable post-Yanukovych Ukraine, the Kremlin appears to prefer a weak country under an ever-present risk of…

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