The recent news from the Ukraine provides a cautious ground for the optimism. Not only had the official state forces agreed a comprehensive and clear ceasefire with anti-government rebel forces, but also it seems that this plan is implemented by both parties, despite minor occasional accidents. However, it is important to remember that the likelihood of this plan being implemented is higher than its predecessors because it is no longer based on promises or benevolence of both sides but on a short-term convergence of the strategic interests of the interested parties.
On the one hand, the government forces are the most interest in peace settlement. The acute stage of the conflict, which continues from the April, weakens shaky economic foundations of the current, which even before the conflict had problems due to high levels of corruptions and regional disputes. Furthermore, Ukraine currently spends $6 million on the “anti-terrorist operation” per day and it would require additional £8 billion in order to restore the country. In this context, it is highly probable that the Ukrainian army is rapidly becoming poorly equipped and ill-prepared for the continual fighting, particularly considering the fact that Mr. Poroshenko visit to US Congress last Thursday failed considerable financial support from the United States. Furthermore, Ukraine, which receives loans according to the IMF structural adjustment programmes, has a legal responsibility to meet rigid fiscal conditions in order to become eligible for the second part of the loan.
Politically, Mr. Poroshenko needs peace settlement ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections in order to lose his electoral credentials further since the continuing “anti-terrorist” campaign was used by his opponents, particularly by Dmitriy Yarosh and Yulia Timoshenko, who argued that campaign was seriously mismanaged and poorly handled.
On the other hand, the separatist forces, which is essentially comprised of numerous troop contingents, also require a temporary respite from the conflict in order to regroup and possibly redesign its response towards the government forces.
Moreover, from the standpoint of the rebel forces, the most tangible result of the Minsk negotiations was the greater autonomy rights for the eastern regions of the Ukraine, which at least gives them an interesting food for thought and potentially might change their perception of the conflict with the government forces. Most importantly, the existing peace agreements satisfy the central national interests of Moscow. Politically, Russia already achieved its most important objective, which it aimed to achieve throughout the on-going crisis-to destabilize the situation in such a way, that would create serious obstacles for the Ukraine to join either Nato or European Union.
Thus, Ukraine would likely remain economically dependent on Russia, at least in short-term, which is currently the man strategic priority. Additionally, during the ceasefire Russia would make attempts to answer one of the most important question it faces in its post-Cold War history: does it need the relationship with the West per se (which are likely to be on Western designed and imposed conditions) or should redirect its attention towards Asia and BRICs?
This means that the fact that the existing peace accords are implemented by all sides of the conflict is both good news and a bad news for international community. It is good news that they are based on a strong accordance of the key interests of main interested parties, which means that the Ukraine conflict, at least temporarily, is over. The bad news is that once the main parties of the conflict start to develop different interests and priorities the peace agreements are likely to unravel.