The Silence of the Guns: Can the Cease-Fire in Donbass Last?

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Series Details NO.140 (No.38, November 2015)
Publication Date 10/11/2015
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The Polish Institute of International Affairs is an analytical institution established by an act of Parliament in 1996 to carry out research and provide expertise in international affairs. PISM disseminates information on contemporary international issues and maintains contacts with academic and political centres in Poland and abroad. The Institute runs courses for public servants, maintains a library (open to the public; 165,000 books and journals), organises conferences, and publishes books, periodicals and documents on Polish foreign policy and international matters.

The funding for PISM comes from the budget. The director is appointed by the prime minister for a term of five years, following consultation with the minister of foreign affairs. The minister supervises the Institute and appoints its advisory council, which includes a representative of the President of the Republic of Poland, academics and officials.For the first time since the outbreak of the war in Donbass, the situation on the frontline is nearly a proper cease-fire. This is the outcome of the interplay of three factors: the political-military balance in Donbass, sanctions and Russia’s military intervention in Syria. Nevertheless, it is premature to assume that military options in Donbass are no longer in the cards. Russia is likely to use force if needed to repel a Ukrainian attempt to retake parts of the area, to obstruct the Minsk process if it goes in a disadvantageous direction for Moscow, or to seize more territory if there is further political and social turmoil in Ukraine. To minimize the risks of an eruption of violence in Donbass, the EU and U.S. should prolong the sanctions, fine-tune the diplomatic pressure on both sides to implement and uphold the Minsk Protocols, and pay more attention to the political and economic transformations in the rest of Ukraine.

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