Ukraine crisis

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    Who are the winners and losers from the cancellation of the South Stream pipeline?

Who are the winners and losers from the cancellation of the South Stream pipeline?

Vladimir Putin has announced that the construction of the South Stream pipeline, which was intended to transport gas from Russia across the Black Sea to South East Europe, is to be abandoned. Marco Siddi assesses the winners and losers from the cancellation of the project. He writes that while the key winner is likely to be Ukraine, countries in […]

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    Academics should be careful not to exaggerate the progress made in Central and Eastern Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall

Academics should be careful not to exaggerate the progress made in Central and Eastern Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall

On 9 November, Europe marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Ivan T. Berend and Bojan Bugaric write that while the anniversary has motivated several commentators to celebrate the achievements made in the region during the post-communist period, we should be careful not to exaggerate the progress made within Central and Eastern European states. They […]

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    EU recognition of Palestinian statehood can only offer a partial solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict

EU recognition of Palestinian statehood can only offer a partial solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict

In October, Sweden opted to formally recognise Palestine as an independent state. The UK, Ireland and Spain have also held symbolic parliamentary votes in favour of recognising Palestinian statehood, while the French Parliament and the European Parliament are also due to vote on the issue. Richard Youngs writes that while recognition could play a modest role in unblocking peace […]

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    The on-going violence in Ukraine demonstrates the weakness of EU crisis diplomacy

The on-going violence in Ukraine demonstrates the weakness of EU crisis diplomacy

Despite a ceasefire being announced in Ukraine on 5 September, violence has continued, with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights announcing on 20 November that an estimated 13 people a day have been killed in fighting since the agreement was reached. Iulian Romanyshyn and Dorina Baltag write on the EU’s overall approach to crisis diplomacy in Ukraine. They […]

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    Nord Stream has allowed Germany to take a stronger line with Russia, but other EU members cannot afford confrontation

Nord Stream has allowed Germany to take a stronger line with Russia, but other EU members cannot afford confrontation

The reliance of European states on Russian gas exports has been one of the key underlying factors in the Ukraine crisis. Marco Siddi writes on the role played by the Nord Stream gas pipeline in shaping Germany’s policy toward Russia. He notes that the existence of the pipeline, which runs from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, has […]

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    While Russia’s narrative on Ukraine has been misleading, it should not be excluded from media reports in the West

While Russia’s narrative on Ukraine has been misleading, it should not be excluded from media reports in the West

Throughout the Ukraine crisis there has been persistent criticism from the West that the Russian media have presented intentionally misleading information on the conflict. Joanna Szostek writes that while there are legitimate concerns about the standard of reporting in organisations such as the state-funded broadcaster RT, to ban or exclude Russian perspectives from western media would be counter-productive. She […]

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    Russia and the West are now firmly locked in a war of economic attrition

Russia and the West are now firmly locked in a war of economic attrition

Following the annexation of Crimea earlier this year, the EU has implemented escalating sanctions against Russia. Borja Guijarro-Usobiaga writes on the impact the sanctions are having on both Russia and Europe. He argues that with neither Russia nor the West willing to make unilateral concessions to solve the crisis, the most likely result is a lasting political deadlock until […]

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    Ukraine’s elections have made it clear voters want to move in a pro-European direction, but the country’s future remains anything but certain

Ukraine’s elections have made it clear voters want to move in a pro-European direction, but the country’s future remains anything but certain

On 26 October, Ukraine held parliamentary elections. The elections were not held in contested parts of the country, however, and rival polls were held on 2 November in Donetsk and Luhansk. Max Bader writes that while the composition of the new Ukrainian parliament is now more pro-European than ever, the on-going conflict in eastern regions ensures the country’s future […]

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    Citizens in Poland are paying a democratic price for the shale gas and missile defence policies pursued by their government

Citizens in Poland are paying a democratic price for the shale gas and missile defence policies pursued by their government

Poland has taken one of the strongest lines against Russia during the Ukraine crisis. Edyta Materka argues, however, that some of the key elements in Poland’s wider foreign policy strategy have had a negative impact on Polish citizens. She writes that both Poland’s agreement to host a missile defence project as part of an alliance with the United States, […]

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    Why Turkey continues to hold back from full involvement in the conflict in Kobane

Why Turkey continues to hold back from full involvement in the conflict in Kobane

The Syrian town of Kobane has been under siege from Islamic State (IS) forces since September. Given that Kobane is located on the Turkish border, one of the key debates in the conflict has been over potential Turkish involvement, with the country so far holding back from providing any substantial support to the Kurdish forces defending the town. Marianna […]

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    Why Russia’s ‘strong state’ political system still remains a better option for the country than western-style democracy

Why Russia’s ‘strong state’ political system still remains a better option for the country than western-style democracy

Russia’s political system has often been criticised by commentators and academics who advocate a transition to a more western-style of democracy. Andrei P. Tsygankov argues that while the Russian system under Vladimir Putin undoubtedly requires substantial reforms, the ‘strong state’ model adopted in the country also generates a number of benefits for Russian citizens that have largely been overlooked […]

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    Hollande is facing a difficult balancing act over the French policy on military action against IS

Hollande is facing a difficult balancing act over the French policy on military action against IS

France has participated in airstrikes against Islamic state forces in Iraq, but has so far stopped short of involvement in Syria. Rachel Utley writes on the competing motivations underpinning the French policy on the conflict. She notes that the threat of terrorism has been a key driver of French involvement, which was underlined by the murder of French hostage […]

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    The 2014 Israel-Palestine crisis has uncovered deep divisions within French society

The 2014 Israel-Palestine crisis has uncovered deep divisions within French society

The offensive launched by Israel in Gaza in July prompted a range of diverse responses from states across the world. Helen Drake writes on the reaction within France, which saw a number of domestic protests and disturbances related to the crisis. She notes that France is still digesting the consequences of its colonial past, its post-decolonisation present, and the […]

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    Hungary has put its own economic interests above EU solidarity by siding with Russia over reverse gas flows to Ukraine

Hungary has put its own economic interests above EU solidarity by siding with Russia over reverse gas flows to Ukraine

Russia and the EU have been engaged in a dispute over the legality of so called ‘reverse gas flows’, whereby Russian gas imports to EU countries are redirected back to Ukraine via Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. In September, however, Hungary opted to suspend these reverse gas flows, prompting criticism from some of its EU partners. Erin Marie Saltman writes […]

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    Denmark’s participation in the coalition against IS reflects the country’s commitment to ‘ethical militarism’

Denmark’s participation in the coalition against IS reflects the country’s commitment to ‘ethical militarism’

The United States has put together a coalition of several western and Arab states to support military action against Islamic State (IS) forces in Iraq and Syria. Laust Schouenborg writes on the participation of Denmark in this coalition. He argues that the decision to take part reflects a principle of ‘ethical militarism’ which the country has adopted in previous […]

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    Poland has taken on an unprecedented leadership role over the EU’s foreign policy during the Ukraine crisis

Poland has taken on an unprecedented leadership role over the EU’s foreign policy during the Ukraine crisis

The EU formally adopted new sanctions against Russia on 8 September which will come into force over the next few days. Elizabeth Radziszewski assesses the role of Poland during the Ukraine crisis and how the country’s foreign policy sits with the EU’s response to Russia. She writes that Poland has taken on an unprecedented leadership role during the crisis, […]

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    It is in Vladimir Putin’s interest to ensure there is a lasting ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine

It is in Vladimir Putin’s interest to ensure there is a lasting ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine

A ceasefire was agreed between Ukraine and separatist forces on 5 September, although it is unclear whether this will hold following shelling in the city of Mariupol and near Donetsk airport on Sunday. Ellie Knott writes on public opinion within Russia toward the conflict. She notes that while Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings have increased during the Ukraine crisis, there […]

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    Ukraine is heading for new parliamentary elections, but the country still lacks real political parties

Ukraine is heading for new parliamentary elections, but the country still lacks real political parties

On 25 August, Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, dissolved parliament and called new elections for 26 October. Taras Kuzio provides an overview of Ukraine’s party system ahead of the elections, noting that in many respects the country still lacks genuine political parties of the kind found in other European states. He argues that without strong political parties it will be […]

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    The EU is unlikely to embrace shale gas as an alternative to Russian gas imports

The EU is unlikely to embrace shale gas as an alternative to Russian gas imports

The reliance of European states on gas imports from Russia has been one of the key underlying factors shaping the EU’s response to the Ukraine crisis. However could the use of shale gas help to reduce the EU’s energy dependence on Russia? Corey Johnson assesses the varying policy responses in European countries, noting that while some states such as […]

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    Despite the recent crises in Syria and Ukraine, reforming UN Security Council decision-making remains a pipe dream

Despite the recent crises in Syria and Ukraine, reforming UN Security Council decision-making remains a pipe dream

The decision-making procedures used in the UN Security Council – chiefly the veto granted to its five permanent members – have frequently been criticised on the basis that they prevent agreements being reached on key issues. This criticism has been particularly acute with respect to the failure of the Security Council to agree joint positions on the ongoing crises […]

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