On December 25, 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist as a sovereign state. Soon after, the former republics of the USSR declared independence one after the other. In some cases, the separation of paths proved more complicated than others.
In May 1997, Russia and Ukraine signed three agreements whereby they established two independent national fleets, and divided armaments. Under these agreements, Ukraine agreed to lease the port of Sevastopol to Russia until 2017 in return for economic benefits. Since Sevastopol was Russia’s principal naval base on the Black Sea, the agreements also allowed Russia a troop presence there.
On March 25, Russian General Staff deputy head Colonel General Sergey Rudskoy announced that the significant reduction of the Ukrainian military potential will now make it possible for Russia to concentrate on the main goal: the liberation of Donbas, while the operation itself will last until “total completion of goals, set by the commander-in-chief.” After the talks in Istanbul, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin also said that Russia will drastically decrease the military activity in the direction of Kyiv and Chernihiv.
Merriam-Webster defines “brinkmanship” as, “the art or practice of pushing a dangerous situation or confrontation to the limit of safety especially to force a desired outcome”, and “diplomacy” as “the art and practice of conducting negotiations between nations”. However, I am inclined to see the former not as an art, but as a gambling game at the end of which, more often than not, there are no winners.
Now, with loss of life, devastation, displacement within Ukraine and into neighboring countries, “brinkmanship” in the Ukraine crisis has already gone beyond the limit of safety. So, it is time for diplomacy.
It has been more than a month since Presidents Putin, Poroshenko, Hollande and Chancellor Merkel issued the “Declaration of Minsk in Support of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements” and reiterated their belief that there is no alternative to a peaceful solution. The failure to declare an “immediate” cease-fire was not a good sign. President Poroshenko later revealed that the Ukrainian side had proposed this but the separatists insisted on a sixty hour lead-in period. It must have been clear to everyone around the table that what the separatists wanted was a window of opportunity to capture Debaltseve which they accomplished. Okumaya devam et →