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Talking up Ukraine-Russia war risk is destabilising

Wednesday, January 9, 2019


Assessing warlike talk in Russia and Ukraine.


Senior officials in Ukraine and Russia have repeatedly warned of impending conflict in recent weeks, each accusing the other of concentrating troops along their common border, around Crimea and on the front lines of the rebel Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Such rhetoric has been heard before, but the current atmosphere is more tense because of Russia's recent seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels off the Crimean coast.


  • Overt Russian acts of aggression would force Western governments into harsher sanctions, whatever their reservations.
  • Barring a serious upsurge in fighting, White House backing for Ukraine will be inconstant and EU support largely moral.
  • Even with a change of president, Ukraine's leadership is unlikely to move swiftly to a peace deal.

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