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Kyiv's Push to End Eastern Ukraine's Conflict Risks Prolonging It

Sim Tack
Senior Global Analyst , Stratfor
Mar 4, 2020 | 19:21 GMT
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks following an outbreak of violence with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on Feb. 18, 2020. Ruslan Khomchak, the commander of Ukraine's armed forces, stands behind Zelenskiy.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks following an outbreak of violence in eastern Ukraine on Feb. 18, 2020. Because of severe challenges in implementing the Minsk protocols, the Ukrainian government is planning to propose an alternative framework to end the ongoing conflict with Russian-backed separatists.

(GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images)

With no end in sight to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Kyiv's desire to forge a new path to peace risks setting it back to square one. In late February, Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it was actively working on a proposal to replace the 2014 Minsk Protocol. But while the chances of permanently ending the conflict under the current Minsk agreements remain slim at best, the chances that Ukraine can successfully negotiate an entirely new framework with Russia-backed separatists in Donbas are even slimmer. Instead, Kyiv's strategy is most likely to collapse existing diplomatic efforts -- and could potentially even lead to an escalation in fighting along the region's still-active front lines -- by highlighting the very constraints that have prevented progress over the past six years....

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