Transatlantic Relations Program Nonresident Senior Fellow Adrian Karatnycky writes for the Washington Post on the new threat emerging in Ukraine posed by warlords and militant groups:
Kiev is abuzz with creative reforms in governance, major anti-corruption initiatives and budgetary clawbacks against rent-seeking oligarchs. Civic activism is on the upsurge, and a new government team — populated with many foreign-born and Western-educated ministers — is largely free from the control of the country’s super-rich, who dictated policy in the past.
In recent months, Ukraine’s defenses have strengthened since the Russian takeover of Crimea and the eastern industrial Donbas region. Ukraine’s security service, formerly riddled with corruption and Russian infiltration, has rebuilt its leadership. Combat readiness has improved and weapons production is on the rise, as are the refurbishment and modernization of tanks, artillery and armored personnel carriers. With winter in full swing, the danger of a major Russian offensive has faded.
In many ways, Ukraine is intelligently addressing its key challenges: restructuring the national budget to avoid default and meeting the military threat posed by Russia. Despite such important progress, however, a new threat is emerging: independently operating warlords and armed groups.