The significant Russian military build-up on the border with Ukraine in April raised fears of armed conflict between the two nations. The EU estimated that more than 100,000 Russian troops had gathered in the region as well as in Crimea.
Although tensions eased somewhat after Moscow announced it would withdraw its troops, the threat of further escalation remains.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu last week said he had ordered a number of units near the border to withdraw.
Mr. Shoigu said: “The troops have demonstrated their ability to provide credible defense for the country.”
Glenn Diesen, professor at the University of Southeast Norway and editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs, explained that war is likely if peace agreements are threatened.
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“While Germany and France insisted on the implementation of the Minsk accord, they did not want to put pressure on the Kiev government as they prioritized ‘solidarity’ against Russia . “
Professor Diesen underlined how the resolution of internal divisions and conflicts within Ukraine is “extremely difficult” as it is “intrinsically” linked to the continuing division of Europe after the Cold War.
He continued, “The West supported Western Ukrainians in 2014 to overthrow their Russian-friendly government, and Russia has since supported Eastern Ukrainians rejecting the legitimacy of the new Kiev authorities.
“The civil war in Ukraine is thus a manifestation of the rivalry of the great powers to establish new lines of division in Europe which we paradoxically call ‘European integration’.
“Without any progress towards a peaceful settlement in the Donbass and a reorganization of Russian-Western relations, Ukraine and Russia will ultimately seek to resolve the crisis unilaterally.”