Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Power Vertical

The Briefing: The Ukraine Deadlock

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris in October.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris in October.
By Brian Whitmore

As Western powers push for a final settlement to the conflict in Donbas, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko heads to Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

But the diplomacy is hitting the same snag it always has. 

Russia is insisting on its interpretation of the Minsk agreement -- meaning reintegrating the separatist-held areas into Ukraine as autonomous republics with the current leadership in place.

But such an outcome is unacceptable to Kyiv.

On this week's Power Vertical Briefing, we put Poroshenko's Berlin trip into context and look at the state-of-play in the Ukraine diplomacy.

Joining me is RFE/RL Senior Editor Steve Gutterman and Pavel Butorin, managing editor of RFE/RL's Russian-language television program Current Time.


The Briefing: The Ukraine Deadlock
The Briefing: The Ukraine Deadlocki
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NOTE: The Power Vertical Briefing is a short look ahead to the stories expected to make news in Russia in the coming week. It is hosted by Brian Whitmore, author of the Power Vertical blog, and appears every Monday.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: jwkozak91 from: Edmonton, Canada
February 01, 2016 13:07
If Minister-President Herr Seehofer cozies up too much to the Kremlin, he will be hearing from the Munich Ukrainian community - the faculty of the Ukrainian Free University.

by: Postsonly from: Ukraine
February 01, 2016 13:19
Brian, every time you discuss settlement prospects in Ukraine but fail to mention the seizure of Crimea or the sanctions attached to it you evidence the "Western fatigue" that Putin is counting on while silently promoting Putin's Russia's position that, "it's a done deal, Crimea is ours, resistance is futile."
In Response

by: Jaycey from: Zaporozhye, Ukraine
February 01, 2016 15:44
May you live forever & people the earth with the fruit of your loins

by: Serge
February 02, 2016 01:16
Crimea was also an autonomous republic look where it is now.

by: Rick Jackson from: Washington
February 02, 2016 07:45

The negotiations are going nowhere because the West still refuses to say in public what it knows in private: The Donbass (and Crimea) is NEVER coming back to Ukraine. The price of Ukraine's Western support is the de facto loss of the territory. If Kiev doesn't like what the West is offering (which is very generous), they are welcome to join Putin's Customs Union.
In Response

by: Neil Nelson from: UT, USA
February 02, 2016 16:50
Rick, Ukraine pays Russia the Donbas for Western support? How about, Russia confiscates the Donbas in retaliation for Western support.

The negotiations are about more than returning the Donbas and Crimea back to Ukraine. They are about sanctions on Russia, the simmering and potentially hot war between Ukraine and Russia, Russia's vision of its role in bordering nations and Europe, Europe's and the US' visions of their relations and with Russia's aggression.

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About This Blog

The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or