Ukraine’s Foreign Policy Choices and Responses to the Russian Escalation

Petro Burkovskiy and Olexiy Haran from the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation analysed Ukraine’s foreign policy choices and responses to the Russian escalation.

In March 2020, one of the co-authors outlined five possible scenarios of development of the Ukrainian-Russian relations until the next presidential elections in Ukraine in 2024i. In brief,  it was anticipated that 1) Russia would try to disrupt the peace process to coerce Ukraine to 2) a quick settlement of the conflict on the Russian terms or 3) “freeze” conflict in the Donbas. In case of failure of such attack or retreat, authors expected the continuation of the 4) war of attrition, while the least likely scenario is 5) a gradual settlement based on Ukraine’s full territorial integrity.

They were published one year after a complete reset of the Ukrainian political system caused by a landslide victory of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, actor and co-owner of entertainment holding “Kvartal 95” without any political or administrative experience. Zelenskyy promised to find a solution to end the war, started by Russia in 2014 with the occupation of Crimea and partial occupation of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east of Ukraine, often referred as “Donbas” (Donetsk Basin, a geologic formation known for the enormous deposits of black coal).

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