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SnapshotsMar 4, 2020 | 23:32 GMT
Ukraine's 'Outsider' President Brings Insiders Into the Fold
Upon taking office in May, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed in a wave of new faces into Kyiv, creating an administration filled with former entrepreneurs and young tech-savvy professionals. But since then, Zelenskiy's popularity has dwindled. And as a result, Zelenskiy now finds himself reaching back to prior generations of Ukrainian politics to maintain the strength of his presidency through the end of his term. This new team will add to the level of experience and institutional knowledge in the Ukrainian government that his previous cadre lacked. But bringing back those who served under Ukraine's previous political system also risks bringing back those tied to the oligarchs.
AssessmentsMar 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.
Kyiv's Push to End Eastern Ukraine's Conflict Risks Prolonging It
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.
Contributor PerspectivesDec 18, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
People gather outside the presidential office in Kyiv on Dec. 9, 2019, as they wait for news of talks held in Paris to try to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
What Are David's Options When Goliath Makes Geopolitical Reality?
The old year's parting present to 2020 is a gaggle of what the Russians call "frozen conflicts" across the globe. Any one of them may unfreeze in the year ahead, bringing bloodshed and exile to innocents and threatening an already precarious world order. In some, the balance of forces is so disproportionate that the weaker party has no options but to bow to strength. The Goliaths of Russia and India, among others, dictate terms to the Davids of Ukraine and Pakistan. The people of tiny Hong Kong are standing up to China, but for how long? Who will defend Hong Kong if China abolishes the former British colony's "one country, two systems" status? For that matter, would NATO prevent Moscow from seizing more Ukrainian territory than it already has? Would the United Nations defend Pakistan if India expels the Muslims of Kashmir, as Burma did the Rohingya Muslims?
SnapshotsDec 6, 2019 | 19:31 GMT
The Prospects for Talks to End Eastern Ukraine's Conflict Remain Cloudy
Initial optimism, in the end, only presaged a false dawn. Where Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists had previously withdrawn from the line of contact and swapped prisoners, fundamental differences between the two sides are clouding the chances of significant progress toward ending their conflict during the Normandy summit, which will bring together Kyiv, Moscow, Paris and Berlin in France on Dec. 9. In his most recent statements over the past week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for the creation of integrated security forces -- dubbed a "municipal guard" -- in the separatist-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine that would include elements of the Ukrainian armed forces. Zelenskiy is expected to push this controversial plan at the summit, potentially creating a new bone of contention between Kyiv and Moscow. Previously, the Ukrainian president said the sides could not resolve the political status of Donbas unless Russia agrees to a cease-fire and further prisoner swaps
SnapshotsOct 8, 2019 | 21:16 GMT
Ukraine: Zelenskiy's Peace Effort Encounters Resistance
Developments continue to muddy progress toward resuming the so-called Normandy Format to try to settle the conflict in Ukraine. Representatives of the separatist Luhansk People's Republic informed observers with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe that the group would be ready to begin withdrawing its forces on Oct. 9. The date was delayed two days when Ukraine postponed the pullout of some of its own forces because of artillery fire between both sides in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. At the same time, the Azov Battalion -- a right-wing, pro-Ukrainian paramilitary group -- announced on Oct. 7 that it was taking up positions in Zolotoe, a village on the line of contact. Ukrainian forces would likely have to leave Zolotoe as part of a withdrawal, but the Azov Battalion's leader has said his forces will not abandon the village.
GuidanceOct 2, 2019 | 16:12 GMT
A house in the village of Roza in eastern Ukraine is left burning after fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian separatists on Sept. 6, 2019.
Watching for Signs of Progress in Eastern Ukraine
On Sept. 18, Ukraine announced it was preparing to pull back its military presence 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) from the roughly 450-kilometer front line in eastern Ukraine on the basis that Russian-backed separatist forces do the same. Specifically, Kyiv stressed that the successful completion of this plan would depend on concurring "reciprocal actions from the opposite side." This announcement follows a high-profile prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia on Sept. 7. Combined, these two recent developments suggest that the door to further de-escalation may be opening wider -- and with it, the potential for diplomatic progress toward addressing the nearly six-year conflict in eastern Ukraine.
SITUATION REPORTOct 1, 2019 | 19:32 GMT
Russia, Ukraine: President Agrees to Formula That Would Advance Donbas Conflict Negotiations
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced Oct. 1 that Ukraine has agreed to a formula that envisions special status for the separatist regions of Donbas following local elections that would be supervised by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and international monitors, as well as conducted in accordance with Ukrainian law, the Kyiv Post reported.
GuidanceAug 27, 2019 | 20:22 GMT
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton (L) and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor prepare to lay flowers commemorating Ukrainian soldiers who died in eastern Ukraine during a visit to Kyiv on Aug. 27, 2019.
On Russia's Borders, Bolton Probes for Openings for the U.S.
In its great power battle with Russia, the United States is continuing to poke around the Eurasian giant's periphery. U.S. national security adviser John Bolton is visiting Ukraine on Aug. 27 as part of an effort to "underscore U.S. support for Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and Euro-Atlantic path," according to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. But that's not the only place Bolton -- a key member of the U.S. security establishment and presidential administration in challenging Russia -- will head in an effort to increase American influence, with stops scheduled in Belarus and Moldova later in the week.
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