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¿Qué causas y consecuencias tiene y puede tener la creciente presencia de tropas rusas en la frontera con Ucrania?

Resumen

El reciente incremento de fuerzas militares rusas en la frontera oriental de Ucrania, que recuerda mucho a los movimientos del ejército ruso en 2014 tras la anexión de Crimea y el comienzo de la guerra en Donbás, ha causado preocupación en Ucrania y en la UE, EEUU y la OTAN sobre las intenciones del Kremlin. A pesar de que algunos analistas predicen una guerra inminente con regularidad milimétrica,1 aquí sostenemos, analizando los objetivos de la seguridad y de los intereses nacionales de Rusia y teniendo en cuenta los anteriores comportamientos de Moscú, que el Kremlin no planea una invasión, y que se trata de una intimidación táctica, una mera demostración de fuerza y provocación en conjunto a Ucrania, a la UE, a EEUU y a la OTAN, así como un gesto doméstico con la vista puesta en las elecciones generales del próximo septiembre.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pro-Russian militants of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic conduct military exercises at a shooting range not far from the city of Gorlivka, Ukraine, on Jan. 28. (Dave Mustaine/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Few are likely to celebrate the anniversary of the agreement that stabilized a war in the Donbas, a region in eastern Ukraine. Negotiated by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France, the Minsk II accords of Feb. 12, 2015, left the Donbas territorially divided. The Ukrainian government in Kyiv control western parts of the Donbas, while two separatist entities, the “Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics” (DNR/LNR), control eastern parts, including major cities like Donetsk and Luhansk as well as the border with Russia.

After nearly seven years of division, how do ordinary people in both parts of the Donbas feel about the situation?…  Seguir leyendo »

Marking the Day of The National Flag of Ukraine, a day before celebrations of the anniversary of state independence. Photo by ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images.

The recognition by Ukraine of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to consider grave crimes allegedly perpetrated in its territory has led to the ICC Prosecutor’s preliminary examination identifying a wave of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

There are claims of persecution, forced conscription, deportation, sham trials, enforced disappearances, and property seizure - in Crimea. As well as killings, torture, inhuman treatment, sexual violence, and indiscriminate shelling - in Donbas. The court now needs to decide whether to open a full investigation which could lead to charges against specific individuals, as in the trial currently taking place in the Netherlands over MH-17.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rally in support of keeping Crimea as part of Ukraine. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Russia’s ongoing occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and support of separatist hostilities in the eastern provinces of Donbas have resulted in 1.5 million internally displaced persons, 3,000 civilians killed, and a growing list of alleged violations of international law and socio-economic hardship.

But Ukraine is struggling in its efforts to hold Russia accountable – either as a state or through individual criminal responsibility - as it cannot unilaterally ask any international court to give an overall judgment on the conflict.

So it focuses on narrower issues, referring them to authorised adjudication and arbitration platforms such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), European Court of Human Rights, UNCLOS arbitration, and the International Criminal Court (ICC).…  Seguir leyendo »

People attend a demonstration of military equipment and hardware on the Defender of the Fatherland Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, on Feb. 23. (Alexey Pavlishak/Reuters)

Wednesday is the sixth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. After a hastily organized and deeply contentious referendum on March 16, 2014, following Russia’s military occupation of the peninsula, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty of accession with Crimean leaders in Moscow two days later.

An avalanche of international criticism followed. Analysts pointed out that this was the first annexation by one state of the territory of a neighboring state on the European continent since World War II. In the United Nations, 100 countries condemned the unauthorized referendum and affirmed their support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

In Crimea itself, the annexation was popular, especially among Crimea’s large population of older ethnic Russians.…  Seguir leyendo »

Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a ceremony welcoming Ukrainians who were freed by pro-Russian rebels during a prisoner exchange. Photo: Getty Images.

One of the key messages at the heart of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s presidential campaign in 2019 was a very simple one: peace in Donbas, the war-torn region of Ukraine where Russian-supported separatists continue to fight a war against the Kyiv government. Zelenskyy’s message was based on the assumption that if a ceasefire could be respected, and all Ukrainian prisoners-of-war could return home, then peace would have been achieved.

Nine months after Zelenskyy’s inauguration and two months after his first Normandy Four summit (which brings together Germany and France with Ukraine and Russia to discuss Donbas), it appears more likely that this approach will lead Ukraine into a Russian trap.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le sommet qui a réuni à Paris, le 9 décembre, la Russie, l’Ukraine, l’Allemagne et la France a produit des effets significatifs et aura un impact sur le processus de paix dans l’est du Donbass. L’absence de résultats marquants est paradoxalement rassurante, car tout compromis accepté par le président russe aurait signifié une concession unilatérale du président ukrainien.

Tout d’abord, Volodymyr Zelensky a fait connaissance avec Vladimir Poutine en terre européenne, à Paris, sous les regards protecteurs d’Emmanuel Macron et d’Angela Merkel. Le chef d’Etat ukrainien s’y trouvait en position de force diplomatique. Il pouvait accepter de serrer la main de son adversaire et lui rappeler la position de son pays, et les « lignes rouges » infranchissables.…  Seguir leyendo »

En diciembre de 1994, Ucrania rubricó el Memorando de Budapest para convertirse en un Estado libre de armas nucleares. Los firmantes, Estados Unidos, Rusia y el Reino Unido, reafirmaron entonces su compromiso “de respetar la independencia y soberanía y las fronteras existentes de Ucrania” y “de no recurrir a la amenaza o al uso de la fuerza contra la integridad territorial o la independencia política de Ucrania”. El mismo mes, 25 años después, Ucrania se vuelve a reunir en París con sus homólogos de Rusia, Alemania y Francia, para negociar el fin de la violación de todo lo anterior por parte de uno de los signatarios.…  Seguir leyendo »

A banner reading 'No capitulation!' is unfurled above the entrance to the city hall in Kyiv as part of protests against implementation of the so-called Steinmeier Formula. Photo: Getty Images.

In 2016, the then-German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, suggested a way around the impasse in east Ukraine.

He proposed that elections in the areas held by Russian-backed insurgents – the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ (DNR) and the ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’ (LNR) – could be held under Ukrainian legislation, with Kyiv adopting a temporary law on ‘special status’, the main disagreement between Russia and Ukraine in the Minsk Agreements. This law would become permanent once the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had declared that elections correspond with OSCE standards.

The reaction in Ukraine was strongly negative. The so-called Steinmeier Formula contradicted Kyiv’s position that elections in the occupied Donbas should only go ahead in a secure environment – requiring the prior withdrawal of Russian forces and the return of the eastern border to Ukraine’s control.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Trump appears determined to forgive his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine. Unfortunately, the new Ukrainian leadership’s foreign policy failures aren’t helping.

Earlier this year, Ukrainians voted in President Volodymyr Zelensky on a wave of hope and optimism. Many abroad were cautiously optimistic as well: At a time when democracy doesn’t seem to be faring well in the world, a victory for a progressive anti-establishment movement in Ukraine was refreshing. Three months after his inauguration, the domestic enthusiasm is still there. But Zelensky’s attempt to reboot Ukrainian foreign policy has been a disaster — and it is helping Putin’s global push to rehabilitate himself.…  Seguir leyendo »

A person with passports of the Luhansk People's Republic and Ukraine enters a centre for issuing Russian passports in Luhansk. Photo: Alexander Reka\TASS via Getty Images.

The election of Volodymyr Zelenskyi as president of Ukraine has spurred hopes that an end to the war in the east of the country – pitting the Russian-backed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ (DNR) and the ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’ (LNR) against the authorities in Kyiv – is possible. A Russian-speaker from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kriviy Rih and an outsider untainted with the failures of his predecessors, Zelenskyi has, according to some, a chance to reset the bilateral relationship.

Such optimism is unfounded. The principal driver of the crisis – the refusal of Russia’s leaders to accept the sovereignty of Ukraine – is unchanged.…  Seguir leyendo »

Five years into a war in its east, Ukraine has elected an unlikely new president: professional comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyy. To date, Zelenskyy has hinted at both dialogue with and new punitive measures against Ukraine’s formidable neighbour to the east, but offered little in the way of specific plans for either course of action. Some Ukrainians fear that Moscow might take advantage of this seeming hesitancy to cement its influence in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (D/LPR) – the breakaway statelets in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014. In April, after Zelenskyy’s election, but before his inauguration, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree making it easier for D/LPR residents to obtain Russian citizenship.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hace cinco años este mes, una escuadrilla de “hombrecitos verdes” (soldados sin ninguna insignia nacional) tomó el control de una estación de policía en Sloviansk, una pequeña ciudad del óblast de Donetsk en el este de Ucrania. Así empezó la segunda etapa de la campaña de Rusia para desmembrar a Ucrania, después de su ilegal anexión de Crimea en marzo de aquel año. Como dejaron en claro las declaraciones mismas del Kremlin en aquel tiempo, el objetivo de Rusia era establecer un miniestado semiindependiente (“Novorossiya” o “Nueva Rusia”) en el sur de Ucrania y reducir el resto del país a una suerte de Gran Galitzia.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Kerch Strait bridge under construction in 2016. Photo: Kremlin.ru.

As the last four years have demonstrated, the US and NATO are not going to become directly involved in military confrontation between Russia and Ukraine. Moscow understands this well. It correctly calculated that intimidating Ukraine in the Azov Sea would lead to loud condemnations of Russian behaviour with no serious consequences.

The problem facing Western countries is two-fold: Moscow prioritizes its objectives in Ukraine over relations with the West, and it retains vast capacity to inflict damage on Ukraine by stoking conflict and strangling its economy.

The Kremlin has become used to Western sanctions and other instruments of pressure, concluding that it can live with them despite their inconvenience.…  Seguir leyendo »

A portrait of President Vladimir Putin was carried at a celebration of the anniversary of the annexation of the Crimea by the Russian Federation, in Sevastopol.CreditCreditMax Vetrov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In 2014, for the first time in seven decades, a state sought to redraw Europe’s map by way of military aggression. Russia’s theft of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula commanded condemnation and economic sanctions from around the world. But as the news coverage moved on, Moscow was left to design a new assault: an 12-mile bridge between Russia’s mainland and Crimea.

The Ukrainian people will not watch as Russia continues its creeping annexation of our country. Four years ago, in the aftermath of our revolution, Ukraine alone was not able to withstand a Russian military adventure. But today our resolve is strong, and we are prepared to stand up to Russia.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Monday, the Ukrainian government imposed martial law in 10 of its 25 provinces — the first time the country’s government took this step since Ukraine became independent in 1991. The declaration of martial law was in response to Russia’s attack on, and subsequent seizure of, three Ukrainian naval vessels attempting to cross through the narrow Kerch Strait between the Russian mainland and the contested Crimean Peninsula.

Ukraine’s military conflict with Russia and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine has been going on for nearly five years. This conflict has cost more than 10,000 lives and has seen Ukraine lose control over Crimea and parts of the Donbass region.…  Seguir leyendo »

Seized Ukrainian military vessels are seen in a port of Kerch, Crimea, on Nov. 26, 2018. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The Nov. 25 skirmish between Russian Border Guard and Ukrainian navy ships in the Kerch Strait has escalated tensions not just between the two countries, but also between Russia and NATO.

Two Ukrainian navy small-armored boats and a tugboat attempted to cross into the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait. A Russian Border Guard ship rammed the tug. Russian forces eventually captured all three boats, holding them in the Crimean port of Kerch.

This crisis kicked off months ago

In March 2018 Ukraine seized a Russian-flagged fishing vessel, claiming that it had violated exit procedures from the “temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Seized Ukrainian military vessels in the port of Kerch on 26 November. Photo: Getty Images.

On 25 November, the Russian coast guard denied access to two Ukrainian armoured artillery boats and a tugboat on their pre-planned transit through the Kerch Strait to Mariupol on the Sea of Azov. Russian forces reportedly assaulted the Ukrainian surface vessels, leaving the crew of 23 captive and 6 Ukrainian servicemen wounded. In the wake of the attack, Russia temporarily closed navigation to non-Russian traffic through the Strait, before reopening it on Monday.

This represents an escalation for Russia in the Sea of Azov, from air and sea provocations to direct military action against Ukrainian assets. It is the latest step in the Kremlin’s long-term efforts to destabilize Ukraine.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Saturday evening, three small Ukrainian naval vessels left the Ukrainian port of Odessa and headed for the Ukrainian port of Mariupol. Along the way, they had to pass through the Kerch Strait, a sliver of water that lies between the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula and the Russian mainland. The Ukrainian ships were well within their rights to be there — a similar group of ships went through the strait just a month ago, and a 2003 treaty guarantees the rights of both nations to use those waters. But this time, in a carefully arranged provocation, Russian ships fired on the Ukrainian ships — and then seized them, along with 23 crew members.…  Seguir leyendo »

After playing into Russia’s hands on Syria, the Trump administration now risks repeating the error in Ukraine, where diplomatic discussions over a Russian initiative are heating up. Moscow’s plan is to legitimize its invasion and control over parts of two eastern provinces by drawing President Trump into another bad deal.

Vladi­mir Putin’s pattern is familiar. He uses his military to escalate fighting on the ground and then approaches the West with a proposal sold as de-escalation. Appealing to European and U.S. desires for peace without Western intervention, the Russian president puts forward an alleged compromise. But in the details, Putin’s proposals are really designed to divide his adversaries and cement his gains.…  Seguir leyendo »