Ukraine and Beyond

The Ukraine crisis should not be allowed to obscure the full range of challenges that the world faces. In fact, the standoff is more likely to be resolved constructively within a framework that seeks consensus on a broader agenda.

GENEVA – The Ukraine crisis has evolved from acute to chronic. The main question – Will Russia dare to invade mainland Ukraine? – has been answered: Not now. So, now what?

Obviously, the Kremlin did not expect the West’s firm and united reaction to its annexation of Crimea. President Vladimir Putin’s phone call to US President Barack Obama on March 28 clearly demonstrated Russia’s eagerness to discuss “de-escalation.” Putin’s main objectives now are the removal of Ukraine’s blockade of Moldova’s pro-Russian breakaway region of Transnistria and Ukrainian “federalization” (a euphemism for the Kremlin’s back-door strategy to gain control over the country’s eastern and southern regions).

But there can be no return to business as usual anytime soon. Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea has triggered unintended tectonic shifts in international politics. While the long-term implications are still hazy, the immediate consequences are clear.

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