In an op-ed for Reuters, Director of Chatham House Robin Niblett discusses what brought Putin to the bargaining table over Ukraine, and how to ensure he upholds the Minsk II agreement. Robin outlines three possible reasons:
- Ukrainian resistance.
- The growing impact of Western economic sanctions.
- The transatlantic debate over providing arms to Ukrainian forces.
However, Robin also notes that important to recognise that “this agreement is broadly similar to the September 2014 agreement and, given that it does not clearly advance Putin’s strategic goals, conflict may again resume.” With these concerns in mind, Robin suggests that the allied governments should consult quickly to clearly set Western expectations and demands:
- State that any future spread of the conflict beyond the existing cease-fire line would be seen as an attack on the political sovereignty of the government in Kiev.
- Make clear that they will not consider easing any of the current economic sanctions until the Minsk II agreement has been completed in full.
- Include unfettered inspections by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
- Ensure the Ukrainian government’s securing control of its border with Russia.
He goes on to argue that although military assistance by the West may not be any more effective than economic sanctions, “both policies are principally about imposing costs on Russia for its actions and accepting costs on North America, Europe and their close allies.”
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