Vladimir Putin’s decision to pardon Nadezhda Savchenko was a purely pragmatic one. Left with no viable alternatives to freeing the Ukrainian pilot, Putin was forced to make a concession that may not sit well with the Russian population, which has come to see Savchenko as a symbol of the “Kiev junta.”
Despite Kiev’s official rhetoric, the national consensus on integration with the EU is increasingly fragile. Pro-Russian forces are reasserting themselves in the southeast, while ultra-right activists are campaigning against the European Union in the west. On top of that, the current pro-European government has no real achievements to boast of.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov has begun to make an issue of getting Uzbek migrant workers to return home from Russia. He wants political control. But the current situation, where migrants send millions of dollars in remittances and provide cheap labor in Russia, suits everybody.
The past two years have shown that in order to reliably end the fighting, an essential condition for the implementation of the Minsk agreements is a full-scale peacekeeping mission under the mandate of the UN Security Council with the use of military contingents of OSCE countries, equipped with armored vehicles, artillery, helicopters, and drones.
The Dutch didn’t reject the EU’s Association Agreement with Ukraine because they are sympathetic to Russia. They rejected it because they believe that Ukraine, like Russia, is unprepared to join the European community.
President Poroshenko’s failure to move ahead with reforms or to resolve decisively the political crisis in Ukraine has dismayed his U.S. partners. That made for a difficult visit to Washington.
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has been under pressure to resign, but unexpectedly lived to fight another day after a parliamentary vote of no-confidence against him failed. What lies behind his political survival?
Russia and Turkmenistan have a new set of issues to tackle: Russian military activities in the Caspian Sea and problems along the Afghan border have joined natural gas contract negotiations and the status of ethnic Russians in Turkmenistan atop the countries’ bilateral agenda.
The Kremlin has embarked on an anti-Turkish campaign that does not differentiate between the government and ordinary people, the economy and cultural ties, or even the concepts of “Turkish” and “Turkic.” This approach risks alienating Moscow from its most loyal allies in Central Asia.
There are several reasons for extending the military presence of the United States and its allies in Afghanistan.