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  • Affiliation : Chairman of the Executive Board, PIR Center; Co-Chair of the Trialogue Club International.
  • Affiliation : Director General, Russian International Affairs Council
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International Security Index increased to 2831 points. Kortunov, Buzhinsky comment events of the week.

16.09.2014

MOSCOW, SEPTEMBER 16, 2014. PIR PRESS - “In the West, a ceasefire agreement for the east of Ukraine was taken skeptically. The issue of a new round of sanctions against Russia was not removed from the agenda. The comments from Washington and Brussels come down to doubts on whether the agreement would work or not. However, there are no other circumspect ways to resolve the crisis yet. The coming days will show if the Minsk agreement passes the test of time”, - Director General of the Russian Council for Foreign Affairs Andrey Kortunov.

The new weekly International Security Index iSi was published in Kommersant (in Russian).

During the week of September 8-15, 2014, the International Security Index increased to 2831 points. In eastern Ukraine, the ceasefire was maintained; however, in some areas skirmishes took place. The EU and the United States expanded sanctions against Russia because of the Ukrainian crisis. Barack Obama presented the USA strategy for the fight against Islamic state in Iraq and Syria; air strikes on the positions of the Islamists in Iraq intensified. In Syria, heavy fighting between the army and the Islamists broke out on the eastern outskirts of Damascus and Aleppo. In Libya, fierce clashes between the army and Islamists continued. In Yemen, the government and the Shiite rebels began to form a new government. Terrorist attacks were committed in Iraq and Thailand. In Venezuela, mass protests against government policies resumed. In the UK, the rallies of supporters and opponents of a possible Scottish independence took place. In Tajikistan, at the SCO summit the rules for accepting new members were adopted.

Comments on the week's events by members of the International Expert Group of the PIR Center

Andrey Kortunov, Director General, Russian Council for Foreign Affairs – by phone from Moscow: Minsk agreement demonstrated that both sides of the Ukrainian conflict recognize, though implicitly , that the crisis in the country cannot be resolved by military means. Recent offensive of militias in eastern Ukraine has shown that the purpose of the Kiev government –  to pull out a decisive victory by the end of summer - is unlikely to be achieved. However, it is also clear that the militia's military capabilities are limited.

Minsk consultations revealed that the parties have no complete consensus about what the final settlement would look like. Poroshenko’s Position provokes a lot of criticism in Kiev. On this criticism, many Ukrainian politicians build their election campaigns to the national parliament and score their political points.

In the east of Ukraine not all forces support the willingness to compromise as well. There are radicals who believe that they need complete independence and secession from the Ukraine. In order to continue the negotiation process it is important exclude the radical elements on both sides.

In the West, a ceasefire agreement for the east of Ukraine was taken skeptically. The issue of a new round of sanctions against Russia was not removed from the agenda. The comments from Washington and Brussels come down to doubts on whether the agreement would work or not. However, there are no other circumspect ways to resolve the crisis yet. The coming days will show if the Minsk agreement passes the test of time.

Evgeny Buzhinsky (Russia), PIR Center Senior Vice President, Lieutenant General (Retired)  by phone from Moscow: In Minsk at the meeting of the contact group on Ukraine the peace plan was signed. What's next? Most important issue is not even whether the truce between the conflicting parties is kept or not. The main question is the status of Lugansk and Donetsk regions. Neither before nor after the elections to the Verkhovna Rada President Poroshenko will not make concessions. He will continue to state the unity of Ukraine just in the same way as he did before. A small relief around the status of the eastern regions is possible, but the question is rather to the Ukrainian side. Lugansk and Donetsk have raised the ante by stating that they need the independence of the eastern regions. However, if the issue of independence is factored out, some special status in terms of economics, finance, and language is still quite achievable. That is, the solution to today’s situation revolves around the very same issues that  actually triggered the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

In a week, another meeting of the parties to the conflict will be held in Minsk and, obviously, the issue of the status of the region will be raised again.

I am not sure that signing of ceasefire will lead to a real cessation of hostilities.. President Poroshenko does not control all the forces tat are engaged in the conflict from the Ukrainian side. He does control only the armed forces and the National Guard. However, the battalions of Igor Kolomoisky and Sergei Taruta do not obey Poroshenko. The truce will allow them to restore their battered facilities and start shooting again. And this is the problem of the present cease-fire.

For all the questions concerning the International Security Index please contact Galiya Ibragimova by e-mail ibragimova at pircenter.org

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