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Outcomes of 16th July – Ukraine

July 18, 2014

Following on from yesterday’s entry – how did yesterday turn out for Ukraine on the international stage?  Was is as good or bad as expected?

Firstly with regard the European Member States, by way of immediate sanctions there was nothing that wasn’t stated in the aforementioned link.  In short, no further EIB or EBRD lending, and the suspension of some joint EU – Russia projects.

There was, however, agreement on the mechanisms relating to moving to sectoral sanctions.  Those mechanisms agreed by the EU Council, no sector sanctions actually came.

Those sector sanctions may/will come by the end of July.  Hard hitting or not, if and when they come, remains to be seen. However, the EU Council meeting was not entirely an event without positive results for Ukraine (or Georgia and Moldova).

As tweeted last week, the worst possible outcome for Ukraine would have been no EU sector sanctions and the appointment of Federica Mogherini as the new head of the EEAS.  The said appointment did not happen – at least not yet – due to robust disagreements about her candidature between the Member States.  The vast majority of the central and eastern European Member States are very much opposed to her appointment and seem unlikely to acquiesce – thankfully.

All in all, certainly not the best or most dynamic of outcomes for Ukraine – but far from being the complete washout it could have been. Perhaps by the end of the month and a few sector sanctions later, it will be seen as a good result.

With regard to a visibly impatient USA, and as countless entries over the past weeks have alluded to, sanctions came.  Those sanctions taking matters to an entirely new level.

Of the companies listed, the most prominent are clearly Rosneft, VTB and Novatek.  Without doubt pain will be felt within Kremlin walls regarding those three companies.

Whether it is enough pain remains to be seen.  If not, should Sberbank and a few others appear on the next round of US sanctions, that pain really would begin to bite.

Nonetheless, some robust sanctions by the US, putting pressure not only on The Kremlin, but also on the Europeans to deliver something more than “santions-lite” within the next two weeks.

However, as the above tweet makes clear, the effectiveness of sanctions ultimately comes down to the will and ability of those sanctioned to take the pain whilst pursuing actions that caused the sanctions in the first place.  It would be very foolish to expect these, or any other sanctions, to change The Kremlin course.  It is very capable of taking the pain whilst continuing its actions in Ukraine, attempting to divide EU Member States unity and being disruptive and obstructionist on the global stage too.

It is perhaps why governments have been careful in stating that continued Kremlin action “will have costs” – for the sanctions will certainly be costly, despite probably not changing Kremlin course with regard Ukraine – at least immediately.

All of which leaves Ukraine where?

A reasonable tactic in the current circumstances – but what of a security strategy looking forward over the next decade during on-going Kremlin shenanigans of one form or another – or beyond?

Coalitions of the willing such as the UkrPolLit Brigade are a start – but clearly not nearly enough.

All in all though, a better than expected day for Ukraine.  The US delivered.  The EU agreed mechanisms to deliver eventually – maybe – but just as importantly failed to agree to appoint Federica Mogherini as EEAS head, which in itself is something of a result.

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