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Published on Oct 20, 2015
As violations of the ceasefire decrease and the Russian offensive has partly abated, it is true that the situation in the Donbas area has improved, but the danger for Ukraine is far from over. Russia is seeking to assert its position in Crimea and to add the so-called People’s Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk to the list of breakaway territories classified internationally as frozen conflicts. Not content with this, however, Mr Putin is also trying to add to the destabilisation of Ukraine by seeking ways to undermine its economy with projects such as Nord Stream. In essence, unable to take Ukraine by force, Putin is reverting to the more traditional and subversive KGB tactics, in which he has been trained, of attempting to take Ukraine politically.
As Russia now ensconces itself at the negotiating table in relation to Syria, it will seek to use its position there as leverage over the situation in Ukraine and the associated European Union sanctions. We in Europe must remain conscious of this, and not let the pressure of the migration crisis and the fight against terrorism in the Middle East divert our attention and allow Russia its way in Ukraine.