The fighting in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region is entering its fifth year. More than 10,000 people have been killed in this persistent conflict; 2,800 were civilians. Nearly two million people have been internally displaced or put at risk if they remain in their homes.
Today, the Donbas war is among the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with frequent attacks occurring from both sides across the oblasts (provinces) of Donetsk and Luhansk. Before the war, this compact, heavily urbanized and industrialized region held nearly 15 percent of Ukraine’s population (6.6 million) and generated 16 percent of its gross domestic product.
Now it’s a war zone.… Seguir leyendo »
It is common for Ukrainian officials and their international backers to say that Russia’s 2014 invasion, which was partly motivated by Moscow’s anger at Ukraine pivoting toward Europe and the U.S., has unified the country and turned it even more resolutely westward. In one sense, they are correct: Moscow’s aggression has consolidated support among many Ukrainians for membership in the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
But talk of unity among Ukraine’s 44 million people is misleading. It leaves out over two million inhabitants of Crimea, annexed by Russia, and up to three million residents of Donbas, the eastern region of Ukraine partly controlled by Moscow-backed rebels.… Seguir leyendo »
The war in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region will soon enter its fifth year. In September 2017, talk of a settlement picked up after Russia circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution proposing the deployment of UN forces along the front line separating Kyiv’s forces, on one side, from Kremlin-backed separatists, on the other.
Moscow had ignored Kyiv’s calls for peacekeepers since early 2015, so its proposal was regarded with suspicion by Ukraine and its Western allies. Most saw the small force envisaged along the front as a non-starter, more likely to freeze the conflict than end it. Nonetheless, the proposal spurred fresh thinking about ways out of the stalemate.… Seguir leyendo »
Could a U.N.-backed peacekeeping force end the grinding war in eastern Ukraine that has claimed more than 10,000 lives? In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted that he might be open to a U.N. force. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the Trump administration also seem keen on the idea.
The Russians want something light. Ukraine would like a hefty U.N. force to quickly take control of the breakaway areas of the Donetsk basin, or Donbas — but recognizes that Russian-occupied Crimea is off-limits.
Even if a diplomatic compromise is possible, how would a force work on the ground? In a new report for the Hudson Institute, I explore the lessons of past operations for a deployment in the Donbas.… Seguir leyendo »
For the last three years, Ukrainian activists have been trying to beat back systemic government corruption — but now that “Revolution of Dignity” is hanging by a thread. In mid-December 2017, anti-reform forces in President Petro Poroshenko’s government moved to suppress anti-corruption forces, including efforts to sideline the most prominent anti-corruption member of parliament and to subordinate the country’s independent anti-corruption bureau to the very politicians it is supposed to investigate. Here’s what’s going on — and how it matters to anti-corruption efforts worldwide.
A new approach to rooting out corruption: The ‘sandwich’ model
For the last three years, Ukrainian civil society and the international community have been experimenting with a new way to force the government to undertake major anti-corruption reforms called “the sandwich.”
Typically, when international organizations try to help eliminate government corruption, they focus on providing political and technical support, helping reformers in incumbent governments push through reforms.… Seguir leyendo »
I may be the first former head of state since a Habsburg to be left stateless.
In the past, I’ve also been described as one of the worst enemies of President Vladimir Putin of Russia. And yet I recently spent three days in solitary confinement, held by the Security Service of Ukraine, which, among other allegations, accused me of being an agent of the Russian secret service.
How did this happen?
After I finished two terms as president of Georgia, during which I turned my homeland into what the World Bank described in 2007 as the No. 1 reformer in the world, I moved to the United States to teach.… Seguir leyendo »
Ukraine’s complex political intrigues can be hard to figure out. But this week we’ve arrived at a rare moment of clarity.
The most important domestic issue in our country is corruption. And for the first time in our modern history, we have the people and the institutions in place to fight it.
But at the very moment when anti-corruption officials have really started to tackle the problem, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is moving to undermine them. His followers in parliament have dismissed the head of a crucial anti-corruption committee, and now they’re preparing to neutralize the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), its only independent anti-graft body, which has made a name for itself with aggressive prosecutions of high-ranking politicians.… 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 »
Last Tuesday was the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the demonstration that turned into a revolution in Ukraine. To mark the occasion, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko visited the Maidan, the central square where much of the drama played out back in late 2013 and early 2014. Together with the prime minister and the speaker of parliament, he and his wife laid flowers beside the monument to dozens of people who were murdered by police sharpshooters at the climax of the revolution, just before Poroshenko’s predecessor fled the country. Since then, many thousands more have died in fighting in the east.… Seguir leyendo »
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, insists that indictments against Paul Manafort and Richard Gates have “nothing to do with the president’s campaign or campaign activity.” Administration officials dismiss the alleged criminal activity by Mr. Manafort, formerly President Trump’s campaign chairman, as being merely about money-laundering and Ukraine — but not Russia, the focus of the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel.
But Mr. Manafort’s work in Ukraine, which began in 2006, has always in a real sense been about Russia — and may also have been about the campaign.
Mr. Manafort didn’t go to Ukraine to advance the interests of democracy, Western Europe or the United States.… Seguir leyendo »
La educación es una de las pocas áreas que todavía se consideran una cuestión puramente soberana, algo sobre lo que los gobiernos nacionales (y en muchos países, también las autoridades locales) deben tener control. Pero en el mundo de hoy, parece que no hay asunto que sea inmune a la manipulación política. Es lo que sucede con la nueva ley marco educativa de Ucrania, que ha concitado una tenaz oposición no tanto dentro del país, sino desde algunos países vecinos.
La ley, aprobada el mes pasado por el parlamento ucraniano, es reflejo de un proceso deliberativo largo e incluyente. Su artículo 7 establece que los alumnos de escuelas y universidades estudien en el idioma nacional, lo que parece conforme a la normativa europea.… Seguir leyendo »
Since 5 September, much attention has been devoted to Vladimir Putin’s proposal to bring UN ‘blue helmets’ into Ukraine’s Donbas. His initiative is vintage Putin. It shifts the ground, reversing Russia’s rejection of a UN presence as recently as 2 September. It is double-edged, juxtaposed alongside threats of a wider conflict if the US provides lethal weapons to Ukraine’s armed forces. It outflanks the opponent, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, who has been calling for a UN presence since February 2015. It earns praise (notably from Germany’s outgoing foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, who called it a ‘change in [Russia’s] policy that we should not gamble away’).… Seguir leyendo »
The Russian occupation of eastern Ukraine produced one very hot summer. Through August, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe recorded between 1,000 and 1,500 nightly cease-fire violations, a large majority committed by Russian-led forces. Ukrainian soldiers and civilians continue to be killed or injured on a daily basis. While the attacks have tailed off since Labor Day, Moscow this month teed up a huge military exercise in western Russia, Belarus and Kaliningrad that stoked fears of an even broader assault.
Since invading Ukraine three and a half years ago, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has mastered the tactical rheostat, turning up the heat at will, then cooling things down when the United States and Europe push back.… Seguir leyendo »
En la capital de Ucrania se mezclan signos de esperanza y anarquía. Pese al giro económico impresionante que experimentó el país, todavía está muy extendida la corrupción. El gobierno del presidente Petró Poroshenko estabilizó las finanzas públicas, pero no pudo poner coto al clientelismo.
La pregunta ahora es si las reformas legales y del sistema judicial encaradas por Poroshenko podrán crear condiciones para un crecimiento económico firme y sostenido. Tras la firma de un acuerdo de crédito con el gobierno en marzo de 2015, el Fondo Monetario Internacional procedió a efectuar cuatro cuantiosos desembolsos. Pero en una visita reciente, el primer subdirector gerente del FMI, David Lipton, señaló que el país está en riesgo de “retroceso”.… Seguir leyendo »
Washington is considering providing Kyiv with lethal weapons, worrying many residents of eastern Ukraine – and not just separatist rebels or pro-Russian sympathisers. “Most people here don’t think about what these weapons would mean in practice – but of course I am scared”, an outspoken city council member generally loyal to Kyiv told me in Severodonetsk. The town has been Kyiv’s administrative centre for the Luhansk oblast since 2014 when its main city and former administrative centre, Luhansk, fell into Russia-backed rebel hands.
Another new dimension to the international struggle over Ukraine are competing proposals from Moscow and Kyiv for a new UN peacekeeping operation that would keep armed forces apart in the main conflict areas in eastern Ukraine.… Seguir leyendo »
Bien que le régime politique ait changé en Ukraine en février 2014, le système politique et socio-économique semble s’être maintenu. La « révolution de la dignité » a abouti à une corruption éhontée, à un nationalisme militant et au déclin des libertés.
La lutte contre un régime injuste unissait le mouvement de la place Maïdan, qui comprenait trois courants. Pour les libéraux, l’association avec l’Union européenne (UE) devait garantir le développement du pays. Les ethno-nationalistes percevaient, eux, le mouvement comme une phase de la révolution nationale qui mènerait à la création d’un Etat dominé par un seul groupe ethnique, une seule langue et une seule Eglise.… Seguir leyendo »
Chaîne montagneuse de l’ouest de l’Ukraine, les Carpates réservent cette année une surprise au voyageur. Depuis quelques mois, une nouvelle route relie Ivano-Frankivsk à Vorokhta en passant par les principaux centres touristiques de la région. La construction d’une route représente ici un progrès notoire : dans l’Ukraine postsoviétique, ce type d’aménagement était un terrain propice à la corruption. Les fonds publics destinés aux travaux d’entretien étaient systématiquement détournés, la route continuait à se dégrader pendant un an ou deux, après quoi on décidait de nouveaux financements qui étaient à leur tour volés.
Plus de décentralisation, moins de corruption
Aujourd’hui, les choses changent.… Seguir leyendo »
On his visit to Ukraine this week, the American defense secretary, Jim Mattis, confirmed that he favors providing “defensive weapons” to the former Soviet republic. According to recent reports, this military aid would involve sending Javelin anti-tank guided missiles to Ukraine, which has been fighting Russian-backed separatists in the eastern Donbass region for more than three years.
The Trump administration’s plan to arm Kiev is a serious political decision that could have far-reaching strategic consequences. The United States is walking into a proxy war with Moscow — one that it is unprepared to win.
Notionally, helping Ukraine is admirable, but the lack of public discussion and suddenness of this announcement are worrisome.… Seguir leyendo »
El 20 de julio de 2016, Pavel Sheremet, un destacado periodista nacido en Bielorrusia, se dirigía a su trabajo en los estudios de Radio Vesti en Kiev, cuando el Subaru que conducía estalló en una concurrida intersección. Las ventanas cercanas temblaron; bandadas de pájaros echaron a volar. Sheremet (44) murió casi de inmediato, y la Fiscalía General de Ucrania confirmó enseguida que la causa de la explosión había sido una bomba. Un año después, el asesinato de Sheremet sigue sin resolver.
Si esto hubiera sido un atentado al azar, el Comité para la Protección de los Periodistas (CPJ, por la sigla en inglés) al que pertenezco no hubiera pasado todo un año investigándolo y presionando al gobierno ucraniano para que lo esclarezca.… Seguir leyendo »
In eastern Ukraine, a low-grade but brutal fight churns on, virtually invisible to the world. For residents of the houses that lie between each side’s positions, in towns like Marinka and Avdiivka, where combat is heaviest, the conflict is a conspicuous and unavoidable part of daily life.
The shooting starts most mornings between 8 and 9, as regularly as an alarm. Sniper rifles and infantry carbines crack, heavy machine guns bark and clustered booms from automatic grenade launchers reverberate across the deadly fields of the Donbas region. At night, heavy artillery and tank battles keep residents inside buildings that offer dubious protection: On May 13, four Ukrainian civilians were killed in government-controlled Avdiivka by an artillery shell fired from separatist-controlled territory.… Seguir leyendo »