Recent political developments in Ukraine

In this interview with Maya Hojeij from Asharq Business Bloomberg, Christof Rühl, member of the Advisory Board of Crystol Energy and a Senior Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, explains the latest political dynamics between Russia and Ukraine.

While commenting on the Russia-Ukraine negotiations in Antalya, Turkey, Christof argues that saying ‘doors of diplomacy are wide open’ is an overstatement. The positions of each party haven’t changed much. Russia insists that the government in Ukraine should be changed, the country demilitarised (to some extent) and the disputed areas to be acquired by Russia – most of which Ukraine opposes. The conflict will, thus, most likely persist until one side gives in more concessions. 

Ukrainians need some kind of assurances if the path of a neutral state is to be adopted, whereas the Russians are giving gestures of goodwill that they don’t want to target Ukrainian civilians. 

Christof excludes a NATO escalation as the organisation asserted that they want to restrict the conflict within Ukraine, and any offensive movements could lead to the battle spreading to any of the NATO countries and, thus, Article V will be implemented. This was seen when the Polish proposal of sending fighter jets to Ukraine was denied.

The expectations on the EU leaders’ meeting won’t be a game changer, but the most probable outcome is a small de-escalation transforming the tensions into a frozen conflict. The more Russians stress on the neutrality of Ukraine, the more likely it is that Russia wants to contain the conflict within Ukraine. 

Watch the discussion (in Arabic):
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