Is peace in Donbass possible?

Carl Bildt

An ambitious international peacekeeping and transition operation is badly needed in the Donbass.

Suddenly there is new attention to crisis management in the eastern Europe after Russia accepted out of the blue the idea of a UN peacekeeping operation to augment efforts to implement the Minsk Agreement on the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

There is hardly any reason to expect a sudden political breakthrough on the issue. Positions on the scope and aims of such an operation are still wide apart. But after a lengthy period of de facto stalemate on Minsk implementation it looks as if we have entered a period of some movement.

In my view, the only realistic possibility of achieving implementation of the basic elements of the Minsk agreement, resolving the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in this area and the beginning of better relations between the West and Russia would be an ambitious international peacekeeping and transition operation in the area.