Piski, Donetsk region, 2015: both sides are pulling back heavy weapons and the daily firefights and artillery exchange has all but stopped (source: dpa)

First glimmer of hope for Donbas deal as guns fall silent

Russia’s entry into the Syrian conflict has fundamentally altered its stand-off with the United States and Europe. Until Russia launched its first air strikes in Syria on September 30, the crisis in Ukraine was near the top of the international agenda. At the time, some still feared an escalation of the military conflict, or that Russia and Nato could sleepwalk into war. One month later, Ukraine has almost disappeared from policy makers’ radar. The transformation is striking. The question now is whether this change brings a resolution any nearer.

To those who had hoped for more active involvement from the US and Europe to resolve the conflict in east Ukraine, its disappearance from th...

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Professor Stefan Hedlund
Fighting in the Donbas region no longer has the same gloss of patriotic duty, and volunteers are no longer fired by the same passion for fund-raising and supporting the troops. Mutual exhaustion probably gives a better chance for the cease-fire to hold than mere political agreement
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