Destinations Magazine

War in Ukraine: The Turn of the Tide

By Stizzard
War in Ukraine: The turn of the tide

THE Ukrainian flag flies again over Sloviansk, a former stronghold of eastern Ukraine’s separatists. Succumbing to some punishing shelling, the rebels retreated on July 5th, leaving behind a city blighted with bullet holes and bombed-out buildings. In areas they had vacated, unexploded mortars lay wedged into the asphalt.After ending its unilateral ceasefire a week ago, the Ukrainian army has handed President Petro Poroshenko a symbolic and satisfying victory. Yet there is little sign of an end to the fighting that has claimed hundreds of lives in the past three months. Rather the fall of Sloviansk may herald a new phase of hostilities, around Donetsk, the regional capital. And if a protracted insurgency takes hold, Russia’s Vladimir Putin may come under mounting pressure to do more to help than he has done so far.Mr Putin faces only unpalatable options. Having used state media to propagate the myth of a “genocide” of Russians in eastern Ukraine, he may find dumping the rebels outright to be politically untenable. Mark Galeotti of New York University argues that “Putin can’t just walk away.” On the other hand, escalation through more overt transfers of…

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