Friday, October 02, 2015

Meanwhile in Paris

Philippe-Armand de Bonneval

Today, October 2nd 2015 marks the second day bombing in Syria by the Russian army. This date also marks the day when European heads of states and Vladimir Putin will meet in Paris to discuss the situation in Ukraine.
The Minsk Accords have to be put in place by the end of the year. However there are still two points in this agreement that promise to be very complicated to agree on, and be resolved by this deadline. They are, returning the control of the eastern border of Ukraine back in the hands of the Ukrainian army, as well as the disarmament of the rebels groups in the regions of Donetsk and Louhansk. Given the increase in power show that Russia is displaying right now in Syria, conceding in these two major points to reach a real appeasement of the situation seems highly unlikely.
Standing still on these particular point of the Minsk Accords is all the more important now for Russia because it would help them affirm once again that they do not change their mind easily and that once they promise something they will do it. Changing, as Thomas Schelling says when presenting the notion of coerciveness between states; can make them look weak to their allies; mainly Assad and the Syrian regime that put their trust in the Russian air strikes. Perhaps even worse it may show weakness to their opponents not only in Ukraine but also in Syria too.
To summarize, the deadlock situation in Ukraine may continue for the immediate future, especially now that the international community attention will no longer be focused on what Russia is doing in Ukraine, but more on what Vladimir Putin and his government are doing in Syria. Nevertheless after the meeting in Paris today, the world will have a better understanding on how much Russia is actually prepared to cooperate on the Ukrainian question.



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