Kyiv played host to the Yalta European Strategy (YES) conference this week, which brought together politicians and experts from both Ukraine and abroad to discuss some of the issues facing Ukraine today.
One of the most important questions on everyone’s mind was the upcoming presidential elections. Candidates Yulia Tymoshenko and Anatoly Grytsenko and potential candidate Svyatoslav Vakarchuk were all there to answer questions and present their ideas.
However, according to one YES attendee, Co-Chair at the European Council on Foreign Relations Carl Bildt, it’s important that Ukraine does not lose sight of its reform progress in the run up to the elections.
“There’s a risk, of course, that the momentum of reforms will slow down and everyone will concentrate on political maneuvering, and no one will take care of really needs to be done,” Bildt told Hromadske.
And while the elections may be starting to cast uncertainty over Ukraine’s future, one issue that has been uncertain for a long time now is the possibility of a peacekeeping mission to Ukraine’s occupied eastern territories.
However, as Bildt points out, despite the fact that Donbas has become a “burden” to Russia, the Kremlin is yet to agree with any of the proposals for a potential peacekeeping mission. “It all depends on the Kremlin,” Bildt adds.
“There was some expectation that we could have seen something after the Russian presidential elections, but we have seen nothing, and now there’s a lot of speculation that they will wait until after [Ukraine’s] elections. I think we simply don’t know.”