Atlantic Council Program Assistant Ian Hansen writes for New Eastern Europe on why the cycle of violence and chaos in Ukraine is likely to continue unless the country defines what victory looks like:
In the midst of invading ‘humanitarian’ convoys and, no doubt, ‘humanitarian’ Russian artillery and special operations, it can be difficult to grasp what is going on in Ukraine.
Western headlines covering Vladimir Putin’s August 14th speech in Crimea purported a possible reduction in tension. Soon after, Ukrainian forces destroyed Russian military vehicles, which had violated Ukraine’s sovereignty. Then, separatists and Ukraine’s military blamed each other for hitting a refugee convoy with rockets. The vicious cycle of violence and confusion is bound to continue until Kyiv clearly defines what victory looks like. Announcing what the political military settlement looks like and how Ukraine will achieve it before President Petro Poroshenko meets President Vladimir Putin next week is the best way to prohibit endless violence and the creation of a frozen conflict out of the current crisis’ ambiguity.
Before stating its aims, however, Kyiv must first recognise that defining victory is its own responsibility.