The crisis over Ukraine – three years on: Is a “grand bargain” totally ruled out?

15 May 2017

(FIIA) An explicit “deal” between the West and Russia on Ukraine is not possible. Europe would like to reach a more pragmatic modus vivendi with Moscow, but a sustainable freezing of the conflict in Donbas remains a critical minimum precondition. 

The military phase of the conflict in Ukraine’s Donbas started three years ago, in May 2014. Throughout this period, observers have discussed whether or not the West would eventually go for an agreement with the Kremlin, “turn the page” and “trade” Ukraine for cooperation with Russia in other areas. A quick return to “business as usual” after the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 and a half-hearted initial Western reaction to Russia’s annexation of Crimea provided sufficient grounds for concern that this would happen. [...]

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