As the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany are meeting today in Berlin to discuss next the implementation of the next steps of Minsk II, fighting in the Donbass intensified during the last 48 hours significantly mocking anyone who still believes there is a valid ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. The truth is that fighting did never cease on certain areas of the front line (mainly around Donetsk and Mariupol) and that many observers believe a heavy pro-Russian offensive to launch in spring – so pretty soon. Speaking of a ceasefire and an implementation of next steps of a peace process rather seems like a big farce.
Also it has become more obvious that regular Russian troops are involved in the fighting in Ukraine as single reports and statements like this one are forming and confirming this assumption. There are just too many indicators – if not direct proofs – to deny Russian involvement in the war in Donbass. This again seems to make a peaceful solution of the conflict and an ease of tension in the relationship between Russia and “the West” more difficult. Will there be a way that Russian and Western geopolitical interests are satisfied by compromise? It seems that until that crucial question is not solved – if even solvable in acceptable way – Ukrainians, especially in the war zone, will continue bleeding victims of ideological and political “games” as also described in an earlier article. But even in situations like these, someone in Ukraine, in Russia and also in the West profits.
Regarding a possible next outbreak of heavier battles in the Donbass (namely an alleged offensive against Ukrainian government forces) one could ask whether there is an intention (on Russian side) to wait after the parliamentary elections in Finland on 19 April. Finland shares a long border with Russia and many Finns are concerned almost in the same way as many in the Baltic states that the Russian government poses a threat for national sovereignty. In the pre-election phase a heavier outbreak of fighting in Ukraine (if covered by the news) could increase the number of Finns who support a Finnish membership in NATO which would not necessarily be in favor of Russia though it can fuel the popular claim of Russia being surrounded by enemies. The events in Ukraine already triggered a growing support of NATO membership in Finland and a new government will most likely deal with the NATO question – in which extent though is determined by the developments in Ukraine and their perception in Finland.