World press on Ukraine's crisis (February 19, 2015)
"Ukraine Is NOT Munich", the American publication the National Interest writes. "There is only one truly sensible approach, which is the Merkel approach, and that is to seek a negotiated outcome with Russian president Vladimir Putin. It will have to designate Ukraine as a nonaligned buffer nation between the European Union and Russia, with strong grants of autonomy to the ethnically Russian and Russian-speaking Ukrainians of the eastern portion of the country. The idea of pulling all of Ukraine away from the Russian sphere of influence will have to be abandoned. Crimea, part of Russia for centuries until the mid-1950s, is gone now, and there’s no point in seeking to reattach it to Ukraine, because it was only artificially attached in the first place," the article reads.
"Making the Most of Minsk: A Closer Look at the Ukraine Cease-Fire Agreement" is an article which appeared in the American newspaper the New York Times. The newspaper writes that after the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from Debaltseve, the ceasefire may hold in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine's leaders are pointing to the fact that the Minsk agreements treat Donbass as an integral part of Ukraine. The article argues, though, that the agreements provide mechanisms for re-establishing the Kremlin's "soft power" in Ukraine. "In short, Mr. Putin’s Minsk gambit is to create a frozen conflict, but unlike those in Georgia or Moldova. Instead of backing proxy statelets, the strategy is to embed the conflict and his fifth column within the Ukrainian state, allowing him to pursue his aims while seeking to lift the costly Western sanctions," the article reads. To prevent such scenario, the article calls on the leaders of the West to maintain tough economic sanctions against Russia, while insisting on the withdrawal of heavy weaponry from eastern Ukraine as well as providing economic aid to Ukraine.
Foreign Policy magazine compares Putin's policy in Ukraine with the policy of Ronald Reagan in Nicaragua in an article "What Putin learned from Reagan." "The parallels between the two cases tell you something often forgotten when high-minded moralists start complaining about “foreign aggression.” However much we may dislike it, great powers are always sensitive to political conditions on their borders and are usually willing to play hardball to protect vital interests. The collective Western failure to understand this basic fact of life is a key reason why the Ukraine crisis erupted and why it has been so hard to resolve," the article reads. The author believes that in order to understand Putin's motives better, the leaders of the West simply had to "think back to U.S. policy in much of the Western hemisphere" and realize that Ukraine matters for Russia more than Nicaragua ever mattered to the U.S. The article calls to stop seeing the crisis in Ukraine as a "simple morality play" in which the West is good and Russia bad, but to elaborate a lasting solution to the crisis in Ukraine which would be less focused on moralizing and more on strategizing and understanding the reasons behind Moscow's behavior.
"In their cynicism about Putin, western diplomats are making the Ukrainian crisis worse," Mary Dejevsky from the British newspaper the Guardian writes. According to Dejevsky, the opinion that Russia was the biggest winner of the Minsk agreements is exaggerated. Any notion that Moscow might genuinely want peace in Ukraine, and be willing to compromise to achieve that, is excluded from the calculation. "And so continues the profound misreading of Kremlin thinking," she writes. She believes that Russia's major interest in Ukraine all along was its own security rather than expansion of its own territory and the Minsk agreement only proves this point, since they support the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including the Donbass region.