Transatlantic Relations Program Senior Fellow Adrian Karatnycky writes for the Wall Street Journal on how Russia will likely turn to using economic power against Kyiv now that pro-Russian rebels are in retreat:
Nearly three months after Russian mercenaries and Russia-backed proxies began grabbing parts of eastern Ukraine in April, Ukraine’s armed forces have made important breakthroughs against the occupiers. Significantly, the forced retreat of these Russian proxies on Sunday from Slovyansk and some other insurgent-occupied cities was chaotic. Some insurgents simply dropped their weapons and have been trying to escape to Russia or the Crimea region of Ukraine, which remains firmly in Russian hands. Others have merely fallen back and redeployed in rebel-held Donetsk and Luhansk, provincial capitals in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.
As a result, today some three-quarters of the territory of the Donbas and nearly half of its population is back under the control of the Kiev government. Ukraine’s forces have reportedly captured large amounts of weapons and ammunition, including anti-aircraft weapons with documentation and operating instructions indicating their origins in Russia.