The EU and Ukraine have suspended provisional application of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) until the end of 2015. Though their decision might look like Putin’s victory, this conclusion is not obvious. It is high time to stop viewing Ukraine through the prism of Russia policy.
Europe’s and the United States’ principal challenge for the coming years is to develop a new strategy for dealing with Russia. This strategy will have to be built on a realistic understanding of Russia as it is, rather than on what the West would like it to be and hopes it will one day become.
In the short term, Belarus benefits from the Ukrainian crisis and the stand-off between the West and Russia. However, the worry in Minsk is that Ukraine may yet collapse, dragging Russia along with it.
The world is getting used to the Ukrainian conflict and the confrontation between Russia and the West. If Moscow and the Western countries start to consider this state of affairs the new norm, the consequences may be quite unappealing.
As Petro Poroshenko embarks on a long steep journey as leader of Ukraine, he would do well to study Eduard Shevardnadze's statecraft in Georgia, with both his great successes and the later disappointments.
While Kiev is desperate to achieve a full military victory almost at any cost, Moscow is reaching out with humanitarian aid, confusing and confounding its opponents. As to the war there, it still continues.