The ceasefire between Ukraine and its separatists in the east, agreed to in Minsk, is getting ground down with every passing day. With violence still flaring around Mariupol and shells sporadically raining down Donetsk and its environs, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko made some noises earlier this week about canceling its terms. What would this mean, in practice? Unfortunately for Ukraine, not much. Events earlier this summer demonstrated that Russia can halt any Ukrainian progress with little effort. Thus what is emerging is yet another stalemated war along Russia’s periphery.Reuters reports:
“We have now realistically entered the phase of a ‘frozen conflict’,” said Yury Yakimenko, a political analyst at Ukraine’s Razumkov political research center, using a term often applied to other ex-Soviet republics where separatist enclaves have been protected by Russian troops since the early 1990s.
The American general who serves as the highest ranking NATO officer also said this week that the conditions for a frozen conflict were being created in Ukraine.
This is, as far as anyone can tell, things going according to plan for Moscow. By keeping Ukraine on the threshold of dissolution while still being able to extract its energy rents (one way or another guaranteed by the EU), Putin is sitting pretty. And there are few good option for changing that in the immediate term.