Monday’s assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov in Ankara by 22 year-old Turkish policeman Mevlut Altintas adds a new dimension of political stress to the greater Black Sea region as the siege of Aleppo moves toward a painful end. Read More
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The carefully prepared and detailed analysis released this week by Dutch authorities showing that a 9M38 anti-aircraft launched from a Buk-Telar 17 shot down the MH17 flight on July 17, 2014 is probably not a surprise to anyone. What is noteworthy is the extraordinary level of detail – even by Dutch standards – of the investigation, and the strategic choices it foists upon Vladimir Putin and his boyars in the Kremlin. Read More
Russia is simultaneously conducting operations along the eastern Ukraine border, participating in large bilateral naval exercises with China in the South China Sea and conducting large-scale amphibious exercises in the Black Sea around the Crimean peninsula. The Russian Navy has subs operating in the Baltic Sea off Latvia, continues to professionalize its force, and is attempting to sustain a large upgrade in force capabilities matched with no-notice military inspections in most military districts. At the same time, it continues operations in Syria and the eastern Mediterranean, demonstrating resolve and constancy there. Read More
Many are asking why the Turks are not doing more to enable the Kurds and their feared Peshmerga forces to more effectively attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) military forces. Surely the Turks see this through the ancient ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend” lens? Read More
President Barack Obama spent a night on the borders of Russia in Estonia, a country with a sizeable Russian minority, and from whence you truly can see Russia. In remarks a few hours ago, President Obama spoke not only to Estonia and NATO – but to the watchers just across the border in Russia when he said “”In this alliance, there are no old members or new members, no junior partners or senior partners — there are just allies, pure and simple. We will defend the territorial integrity of every single ally.”
As summer rolls on, Russian-built anti-aircraft missiles continue to down aircraft over eastern Ukraine. While a great deal of ink has been spilled over exactly what kind of missiles are deployed, and who is giving the launch authorizations and actually launching them, one fact is salient: This is an escalation, intentional or not, that elevates the simmering Ukrainian civil war beyond Donetsk. Read More
The referenda held Sunday in Ukrainian regions Donetsk and Luhansk have been denounced by many—but deserve cold, rational consideration. This is the prequel to the upcoming 25 May elections, conducted in a state of civil unrest—near civil war—in eastern Ukraine. Read More
In the extended haggling for influence in Ukraine, the U.S. led yesterday with third round of targeted sanctions against Russia. Read More
In Tartu Estonia, there is a building on the main square, constructed on an uncertain foundation that leans precipitously. The locals call it the “Leaning House” or the “Pisa Building.” Ironically, it leans to the west, appearing something like a hunting hound straining at the leash to be loosed to run after its quarry. In this case, though, complex histories, and Russia, are the leash.
This is the second of two articles on the current crisis in Ukraine and on possible policy options for the international community. The first was on history of conflict in the region.
The Ukraine’s current turmoil and the standoff in the Crimea make for a complex strategic issue in Russia’s near-abroad, where Russia holds many of the cards to advantage.
But the leaders of Western Europe, Ukraine, and the United States are not bereft of policy options either. Read More