South Asia Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Rajan Menon cowrites for the Los Angeles Times on what the declining Russian economy could mean for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine: 

Uraine is now strong enough to seize the initiative to create a lasting cease-fire in its Donbas Rust Belt, currently occupied by Russia and its proxies. And Russia may be weak enough to be receptive. It is in Kiev’s interest to do so. A state of permanent war with Russia would damage Ukraine’s democracy, economy and security.

Almost imperceptibly, the tide seems to have turned in Ukraine’s favor. The Ukrainian army has been able to withstand daily attacks by Russian troops. Ukraine’s October parliamentary elections produced a pro-Western majority, and its technocratic government appears poised for radical reforms.

By contrast, the Russian economy is in deep trouble from plummeting oil prices and the bite of sanctions. Many Russians have died fighting in the Donbas enclave. And Russian President Vladimir Putin is increasingly isolated internationally.

Read the full article here.