(FP) Each of Russia's reform-minded neighbors is plagued by separatism. It's no coincidence. High-level negotiations in Minsk have just produced a new ceasefire in the war in Ukraine. Few believe that the agreement will hold for long. But even if it does, the Western powers are showing little inclination to make efforts to roll back the separatist enclave in the beleaguered country’s east. Russia, meanwhile, shows no real sign of curtailing its debilitating “hybrid war” in support of these separatists.
The war in Ukraine is a stark reminder of Russia’s long-established role in destabilizing its neighborhood. The recent separatist offensive there suggests that the Kremlin may be aiming to create a prolonged “frozen conflict” that would keep Ukraine in a state of uncertainty in order to prevent the government in Kiev from achieving desperately needed reforms. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin would be quite pleased if the conflict in Ukraine rumbled on at current levels.
Russia’s attempt to subvert Ukraine cannot, however, be seen in isolation. Its tactics are part of a wider pattern in which the Kremlin uses separatist conflicts as engines for corruption and criminality, and as Trojan horses to block progress in reform-minded countries on Russia’s periphery. […]
Co-authored by Robert Orttung and Christopher Walker.
See the full article © Foreign Policy