Surprising evolution in U.S. policy toward Ukraine
In no time, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was elevated from Donald Trump’s doghouse to the status of an honored guest at the White House. The U.S. president has discovered reasons to demonstrate to his NATO allies, and the world, his tough stand on Russia. As East-West tension mounts, the conflict over Donbas, a portion of eastern Ukraine captured by Moscow-backed secessionists, may quickly degenerate into a U.S.-Russia proxy war.
Ukraine in limbo
Well into the fourth year after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of hostilities in Donbas, Ukraine finds itself in a curious state of limbo. There is good news – the economy has bottomed out, the war in the east has frozen at low intensity, and the danger of yet another revolt in Kiev has receded. There is also bad news – rampant corruption is still strangling business, the Minsk peace process is going nowhere, and hopes for reintegrating the separatist-held areas have vanished into thin air.
Global Outlook 2017: False hope in Ukraine
The Ukrainian government and its international supporters are beaming with confidence that the country is finally turning the corner. While the economy may have bottomed out, there is still plenty of room for worry. As long as the political elites continue to put personal enrichment before transparent governance, the odds are against a rapid rebound. And without a strong economic recovery, another violent uprising could be in the cards.
Russia is turning Crimea into a forward bastion, armed with its latest missile, naval and radar technology. The consequences for the region are dire, raising the threat level for several NATO members and consolidating Moscow’s position against Ukraine and Georgia. The Black Sea is now as likely as the Baltics to become the flash point of a confrontation between Russia and the West.
Soft power is best tool to assist Ukraine
Due to geopolitical reality, Ukraine will not be able to join the European Union, but it can carve out a niche for itself between Russia and the West. The country has enough natural assets and talent to prosper in a position similar to Austria’s did during the Cold War. Western soft power can be of valuable assistance to Kiev in pursuit of this strategy.
Ukraine and NATO: a story of three summits
Dreams of NATO’s eastern expansion were dead well before Russia’s intervention in east Ukraine. But as Western military cooperation with Kiev deepens, the alliance is beginning to realize it may have got something better – extra political leverage in the east, with no strings attached.
Freezing the Donbas conflict: who foots the bill?
The low-intensity conflict smoldering in eastern Ukraine could be politically “frozen” for an undetermined duration. Moscow and Kiev are increasingly motivated to seek such an imperfect deal, but there is an economic roadblock: the bill for reconstruction of the ravaged Donbas region will be staggering. No one, in either the east or the west is ready to pick it up.
Europe at a crossroads: toward a global strategy
The European Union plans to adopt a “Global Strategy” for its foreign and security policies (EGS) at its June 22 summit. The document is the result of years of reflection on the increasing complexity of Europe’s external relations and interconnections. A fundamental problem for the EU is that neither its individual membe...
IMF puts itself in a fix as it bends rules to bail out Ukraine
On December 18, 2015, the government of Ukraine announced it had no intention of honoring a $3 billion Eurobond loan owed to Russia that would mature on December 20. Given the cross-default clause written into that bond, under British law, this was a momentous decision. It gave the Kremlin the right to have Ukraine declared in sovereign default, which would have pr...
Global trends: Ukraine fatigue may force bargain with Russia
Since Ukraine gained independence in 1991, its relations with Russia have never been normal. Major crises are always liable to break out. The present one has lasted for almost two years and is entering a new phase that can make or break Ukraine. <i>This report is part of GIS’s “Global Trends” series, which aims to f...