A so-called frozen conflict might not be the worst scenario for Ukraine, says Kadri Liik, a senior policy fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations. She added that in Minsk a path to integrate separatist areas into Ukraine was chosen, but this will happen on conditions dictated by Russia.
Liik told ETV both the Western nations and Russia achieved some of their goals in Minsk on Wednesday and Thursday.
“The Russian situation in the Donets Basin became more comfortable compared to the previous situation, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel probably managed to avoid an escalation to military conflict, which could have led to unpredictable developments. The agreement was also useful for Ukraine, in some sense, as military-wise, it was in a awkward situation. Its armed forces have improved slowly since the spring, but there a great many holes. Ukraine is sadly not faring well in the war,” she said.
She said Russia is yet to complete its main aim, which is to have first say on political decisions in Kyiv. “Russian President Vladimir Putin has not been able to convert his influence over the Donets Basin to influence over Kyiv. And this is essentially a new attempt.”
Speaking about the agreement to pull out all foreign fighters from Ukraine, Liik said Russia is likely to give that point its own translation and will continue to deny involvement of Russian soldiers.
“We have not moved closer to a frozen conflict. A frozen conflict might not be the worse choice for Ukraine,” she said, adding that Ukraine will have little say in how and in what format the regions will be reunited with Ukraine.
“If the process has held on and we have not heard any artillery fire in six months then something might happen, but the situation is very fragile in every step […] We will wait until Saturday and see what the pre-ceasefire days will bring. The situation around Debaltseve is still very critical,” Liik said.
Leaders of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia, and separatist leaders, agreed on a ceasefire beginning on February 14.
Editor: J.M. Laats