Russia Changes Its Tactics In Ukraine – Steven Pifer
28 September, 2015

What You Need To Know:

✔ Crimea  crisis is a long-term issue, but annexation sanctions against Russia will not  go away;
✔ Russia changes tactics in Ukraine, but  not the ultimate goal of destabilizing the country;
✔ ‘I’d separate the issues of  Ukraine & Syria, I don’t see a connection, no tradeoff for Russia is  possible;
✔ It’d be useful for Kyiv government  to keep hammering home the message of reconciliation with East Ukraine.

Russia changes its tactics in Ukraine as shaky ceasefire has  suddenly gained ground in the war-torn region. But it doesn’t mean the Kremlin’s  ultimate goal in the country has changed too, Steven Pifer, a Senior Fellow at  the Brookings Institution and a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine warns.

‘Russians have decided now to ratchet down the violence in  Eastern Ukraine, and I think it is a good thing. But I’m not sure it means that  there has been a change in Russia’s overall approach, which I fear remains still  to destabilize Ukraine and make it more difficult for the government in Kyiv to  do reforms,’ Pifer says.

Pifer rejects a possibility of Russia getting a tradeoff on  Ukraine for its recent military involvement in Syria: ‘I’d separate the issues  of Ukraine and Syria, I don’t see a connection between the two. A lot of people  tried to draw the connection by saying that there’s some kind of a tradeoff [for  Russia]. Like two months ago, there was a popular conspiracy theory that the  United States might sacrifice Ukraine for Iran. It didn’t happen, because in  the end of the day Russia didn’t want to see Iran with nuclear weapon either.’

Pifer encourages the Ukrainian government to expand the  dialogue with its citizens trapped in the rebel-held areas of Eastern Ukraine and try to re-integrate the region back after the war is over: 'I  think it would be useful for the government in Kyiv to keep hammering this  message home and home and home.'

Hromadske International's Maxim Eristavi spoke to Steven Pifer. a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution  and a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine during the YES international conference in Kyiv on September 11th, 2015.


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