Effectiveness of Ceasefire Agreement & likelihood of War between Ukraine and Russia

Ukrainian-Russian conflict seemed to have come to a pause after the Ukrainian representatives and Pro-Russian rebels signed a ceasefire agreement on September 5th. The agreement is primarily aimed to ensure immediate bilateral ceasefire, while allowing permanent monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian border and verification by the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) ) and certain reconstruction of the region. However, many speculate the effectiveness and sustainability of the ceasefire agreement.

It is unlikely that the ceasefire agreement would bring substantial peace to the region. Russia does not seem to be serious in committing itself to the ceasefire agreement. Although Russia has pulled back 70% of its troops, there are still on and off conflicts taking place in Mariupol, near Donetsk airport. Also, the rebels have shown continuous intention and effort in engaging in “a long military and political fight.” Furthermore,  There is an ongoing increase in Russian defense budget; although not necessarily directed towards Ukraine, but such projection is enough to raise uncertainty and distrust on the Ukrainian side so as to damage the effectiveness of the ceasefire agreement. Additionally, given Russia’s history of aggression, for example, towards Georgia in 2008, it is not convincing towards other party that Russia is aiming for peace in the region. As for Ukraine, Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine once publicly stated, “Illegal armed formations can be dealt with only by force”. Furthermore, with Ukraine receiving military aid from United States, although mostly non-lethal weapons, it is enough to possibly shatter the already frail relation between Ukraine and Russia, hence increasing the possibility of war. In this way, both Russia and Ukraine encounter severe commitment issue in maintaining peace.

It is hard not to suspect that the ceasefire agreement may not have been implemented for a long-term purpose after all. Ukraine needs 5 billion cubic meters of gas so as to allow the country to make it through the winter. As one of the major exporter of gas to Ukraine, Russia will certainly leverage this fact to dominate the situation. In this way, from a realist perspective, there may not be a war between Ukraine and Russia. Judging from the power relation of Russia and Ukraine, Russia could succeed with its aggression simply by threatening to cut gas supply. Ukraine, without powerful support from the United States and European Union (although sanction applies to Russia, it is said to be “reversible” according to EU), is likely to give in to Russia’s territorial aggression, as the price of war is too high when confronting an enemy with such strong military base.

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6 thoughts on “Effectiveness of Ceasefire Agreement & likelihood of War between Ukraine and Russia

  1. Judging by this information it seems imminent that Ukraine will join up with Russia after all. It’s a pretty vulnerable position for Ukraine, and it may not get the desired sovereignty it strives for unless it can get its own oil supply, which is unlikely.

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  2. I believe that the ceasefire agreement has been working since being signed on September 5. I do not see the need for anyone to undermine the agreement being that it was just signed. If the Russian rebels did not agree with ceasefire document, then in actuality it would not have been signed. The fact that the Ukraine is smaller and less powerful than russia, I see Russia trying to over power the country. However though being that the Ukraine wants to be accepted into the EU, I do not know how Russia or the Rebels stationed there would like it. So we can only hold on and wait to see what the future holds for these two states

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    • There are news reports on ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29481979). It seems that for both parties it was better to sign the ceasefire agreement – for Ukraine, there isn’t really any better options, and as for the pro-separatist rebels, as long as Russia keeps on providing military support, the ceasefire agreement does not limit their action too much. Additionally, Western countries are reluctant to substantially engage in stopping this regional conflict. Hence, it is likely that Ukraine would become a victim under Russia’s aggression.

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  3. As of today, it has been a month since both countries signed the Ceasefire Agreement. As Ukraine is in weak position, it will be important for them to find allies to get aid such as military and oil. Unless either country provoke or show unexpected movements, it seems they will be on a safe route for a while.

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  4. I think it would be in Ukraine’s best interest to work with Russia for the time being unfortunately for Ukraine, and like you said ” Like you said “Ukraine needs 5 billion cubic meters of gas so as to allow the country to make it through the winter”. After all Russia was able to seize the Crimean peninsula as well as underwater fuel resources in the Black Sea (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/world/europe/in-taking-crimea-putin-gains-a-sea-of-fuel-reserves.html) effectively crippling the possibility of Ukraine gaining energy independence. I also think that this is simply a ploy for Russia to look like it’s backed down from the Ukrainian dispute while still dominating Ukrainian through economic control.

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