Hopes of diplomatic solution fade for European security

14 January 2022

Attempts at de-escalation of tension along Ukraine's borders stalled after talks within the OSCE in Vienna on Jan. 13. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov stated on Russian TV that he saw no reason for further meetings with the West at this time. The Russian Permanent Ambassador to OSCE Aleksandr Lukashevich echoed the point, stating that Russia was not getting a “constructive response” to its proposals.

 

After the talks OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Zbigniew Rau announced that he would be visiting Ukraine and the line of contact to assess for himself the situation, especially that of the civilians along the front. This will be the first trip of the new Chairperson-in-Office, as Poland assumed the duties on Jan. 1.

 

In related notes, Ukrainian government websites were subject to a massive cyber attack on the morning of Jan. 14. The Foreign Ministry’s website displayed a message, “written in Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish, warning Ukrainians to ‘be afraid and expect the worst.’”.

 

Also, OSCE has been reporting hundreds of ceasefire violations on a daily basis coming from the LNR/DNR side, including what has been determined to be live fire exercises.

 

James Hydzik: The sincerity of Russia’s agreement to negotiate was openly in doubt by all concerned before the talks started. Moreover, the tone of the negotiations was probably not to the Russians’ liking, as the NATO meeting in Brussels took longer than planned due to the member states taking turns to tell the Russians just why they joined the alliance. Neither the cyber attack nor the ceasefire violations are surprises.

 

Some businesses in Ukraine are dusting off contingency plans created after Maidan and the 2014 invasion, especially those with offices in other countries. However, the starkest effect of the tension is the sell-off of Ukraine-related international bonds. 

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