Ukraine

Archive Profile

2014 Country Profile

Since November 2013, Ukraine has experienced its most intense upheaval and existential challenge since the end of the World War II, with over 4,000 deaths in the conflict. Following months of protests, its government resigned in February 2014 and senior officials fled the country. A part of its territory, Crimea, seceded and was annexed by the Russian Federation. Violence continues in eastern Ukraine and, notwithstanding periodic cease-fires, tensions remain. The European Union and United States have negotiated with Russia regarding the situation in Ukraine, but a mutual agreement has been elusive. Following presidential elections in May 2014 and parliamentary elections in October, Ukraine appears to be more pro-European than ever before, but is still dependent on Russia for gas supplies and needs its cooperation to restore order in eastern Ukraine.

Background

The current conflict in Ukraine, its longest and most violent since the end of World War II, was triggered by the refusal of then-President Viktor Yanukovich to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union. This “deep and comprehensive free trade agreement”, initiated in 2009 as part of the EU’s Eastern Partnership, was intended to promote greater economic and political integration with the EU. Ukraine’s negotiations with the EU also occurred in the background of ongoing discuss Read More...

Key developments

In the aftermath of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, the OSCE sent a Special Monitoring Mission in late March 2014 to reduce tensions and foster peace, stability and security in Ukraine for an initial period of six months. Given the OSCE’s consensus decision-making, Russia’s consent to the mission was viewed as a potential signal of de-escalation. Although the OSCE process has not yet helped diffuse the conflict, the mission was subsequently reauthorized for an Read More...

Conclusion

Nearly twelve months into the conflict, there does not appear to be a compromise settlement in the near future. On the one hand, Ukraine has proceeded with ratification of the Association Agreement with the EU that initially gave rise to the conflict. Moreover, it expressed its intention to join NATO, which would cross a red line for Russia, and changed Ukrainian law to reflect this new policy. On the other hand, Russia appears intent on exercising sovereignty over Crimea and maintaining influen Read More...

Background

At the close of the Cold War, Armenia and Azerbaijan were drawn into a war over Nagorno- Karabakh. Populated by an ethnically Armenian majority, this region within Azerbaijan unilaterally declared independence in 1991. Fighting stopped by and large with a cease-fire agreement in 1994, but the territorial dispute has yet to be settled. Since 1992, international engagement to settle the conflict has been coordinated primarily by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The o Read More...

Key developments

Armenia and Azerbaijan Since 1994, Armenian troops have held Nagorno-Karabakh and a significant part of southwest Azerbaijan. Though the front line has always been highly militarized, significant military buildup occurred in 2012, with both sides investing in sophisticated defense systems. Armed clashes increased markedly and the number of conflict-related casualties in 2012 was the highest since 1994. These developments notwithstanding, the French, Russian, and US co-chairs of the Minsk Group t Read More...

Conclusion

While new openings for a settlement of the long-standing frozen conflict in Moldova have begun to appear, the risk of continued violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh is high. Scheduled elections for 2013 in Armenia and Azerbaijan have fostered reluctance of political leaders to undertake diplomatic solutions that have a high likelihood to politicize the NagornoKarabakh conflict in the lead-up to the voting. Parliamentary elections in Georgia in October 2012, meanwhile, he Read More...