(Eurasia Daily Monitor) The sharp escalation of hostilities in eastern Ukraine last week (January 22) has disheartened many in Europe who had hoped for a gradual resolution of the Ukraine conflict. On the other hand, it has been a welcome return to the path of victory for many in Russia who consume or produce the flow of war propaganda. For some observers, the fragility of the ceasefire and the impossibility of “freezing” the conflict in the present configuration were beyond doubt, so the question that is looming large in the commentary is not “Why?” but rather “Why now?” (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, January 23).
The meeting of foreign ministers of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine (see EDM, January 22, 23) was supposed to make a small contribution to managing the low-intensity clashes; but in fact, their get-together merely registered the lack of readiness to compromise (Novaya Gazeta, January 23). One advantage of this negotiations format, usually referred to as the “Normandy” group because it was first established at the summit in France last June, is that it does not involve the Moscow-backed rebels. The pro-Russia separatists’ claims about expanding the offensive to the western borders of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces are indeed of little import because the decision-making on every step forward is done in Moscow (Gazeta.ru, January 23). […]
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