In 2019, Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelenskyy put a premium on bringing peace to eastern Ukraine. His government managed to reconvene the Normandy Summit talks in November, negotiate disengagement in several towns, and organize two prisoner exchanges. But the coronavirus pandemic has taken primary focus in Ukraine and across the globe. The next Normandy Summit, originally scheduled for April 2020, has been postponed until after the coronavirus crisis ends. The pandemic also led to a months-long closure of Ukraine. After June 10, the first entry and exit checkpoints along the demarcation line are slated to reopen. As focus shifts away from the coronavirus, what is the current situation in the Donbas, has the conflict changed, and what are the prospects for peace?
Victor Liakh, president of the East Europe Foundation; Oksana Syroid, president of the Samopomich Union political party and co-chair of the Lviv Security Forum; Dr. Andreas Umland, nonresident fellow at the Center for European Security of the Institute on International Relations in Prague and principal investigator for the Program on European, Regional and Russian Studies at the Ukrainian Institute for the Future in Kyiv; and Ambassador Kurt Volker, distinguished fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, discuss the current situation in the Donbas and prospects for peace. Ambassador John Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, moderates the discussion.
Europe in crisis
War in Ukraine
In February 2022, Moscow launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine after a months-long military build-up, threatening the country’s sovereignty and its future. This existential moment for the country follows the 2014 Maidan revolution, a nexus for Ukraine’s Europe-focused foreign policy and reform efforts. The ensuing Russian invasion and occupation of Crimea, aggression in Ukraine’s east, and Kremlin disinformation efforts, cast a shadow over Ukraine’s independence.
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The Eurasia Center’s mission is to enhance transatlantic cooperation in promoting policies that strengthen stability, democratic values, and prosperity in Eurasia, from Eastern Europe in the West to the Caucasus, Russia, and Central Asia in the East.