Assessments

For Ukraine, a Grand Bargain Is Still Elusive

Oct 14, 2015 | 09:15 GMT
Ukrainian tanks ride from the front line in the Luhansk region on Oct. 5.
(ALEKSANDER GAYUK/AFP/Getty Images)

After a year of slow-burning conflict in eastern Ukraine, the relationship between Kiev and Moscow seems to finally be improving. Fighting on the ground has dissipated, there have been significant positive developments in talks over the past few weeks and both sides began to pull heavy weaponry back from the line of contact in early October. Moreover, Russia and Ukraine have agreed on a temporary natural gas deal and will begin direct negotiations on Kiev's terms of repayment for a bond that matures in December. And in a major concession to Kiev and its Western backers, the separatist territories of Donetsk and Luhansk announced Oct. 6 that they would postpone local elections. These developments signal progress toward ending the standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine. However, a broader settlement will still be difficult to achieve and is unlikely to be reached before the end of the year....

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