BRUSSELS—The European Union is, in the coming weeks, looking to roll over its broad economic and targeted sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis until late January, according to a number of senior officials and diplomats. The continuation of the sanctions are part of an effort to maximize the bloc’s leverage in pushing the Kremlin to fully implement its side of the Minsk cease-fire agreement, the officials say.
In 2014, history returned to Europe with a vengeance. The crisis over Ukraine brought back not only the spectre but the reality of war, on the 100th anniversary of a conflict that had been spoken of as the war to end all war. The great powers lined up, amid a barrage of propaganda and informational warfare, while many of the smaller powers made their contribution to the festival of irresponsibility.
AFTER THE Soviet Union collapsed, Richard Nixon observed that the United States had won the Cold War, but had not yet won the peace. Since then, three American presidents—representing both political parties—have not yet accomplished that task. On the contrary, peace seems increasingly out of reach as threats to U.S. security and prosperity multiply both at the systemic level, where dissatisfied major powers are increasingly challenging the international order, and at the state and substate level, where dissatisfied ethnic, tribal, religious and other groups are destabilizing key countries and even entire regions.
According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe. In this view, the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 merely provided a pretext for Putin’s decision to order Russian forces to seize part of Ukraine.
My activities are in two locations: Brussels, the capital of the European Institutions – EU Commission, Parliament and European Council – and Berlin, which exercises the preponderant political will within those Institutions.
The activities themselves are of two kinds:
- Fact-finding, through face to face meetings with representatives of all political parties, right, left and center, in order to determine on the ground the voting calculus in the European Parliament/German Bundestag on Russia and Ukraine related issues
- Seeking co-sponsors and jointly organizing panels and debates before mixed audiences of parliamentarians, journalists, think tank officers, academics and the general public devoted to the Ukraine crisis and East-West relations.
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Both warring sides in eastern Ukraine are perpetrating war crimes almost daily, including torturing prisoners and summarily killing them, the Amnesty International rights group said in a report Friday.