Moscow has no intention of withdrawing its troops from Donbas or returning the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine, says a U.S.-based expert, Stephen Blank.
"Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently restated three lies: there are no Russian troops in Donbas, the conflict in eastern Ukraine is a civil war, not a Russian invasion, and the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014 had nothing to do with Russian forces. All of these are bold-face lies," Stephen Blank, who is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, wrote on the Atlantic Council.
Blank stressed that despite negotiations with the U.S. representative on Ukraine, Ambassador Kurt Volker, and the Normandy Four (Ukraine, France, and Germany), Moscow has no intention of getting out of Donbas or returning Crimea. If anything, it is reinforcing its forces in Crimea by dispatching more S-400 surface to air missiles there and striving to invest even more resources needed at home in Crimea. It also consistently represses any persons or phenomena that evokes an independent Ukraine.
Read alsoPeacekeepers in Donbas must prevent conflict from freezing: U.S. General"Russia refuses to accept a negotiated outcome that entails its retreat from Donbas or Crimea. Moscow now insists that Ukraine accede to the suicidal Minsk II agreement that would effectively convert Ukraine into a confederation whose sovereignty could be punctured at any point by Donbas, much as the confederacy attempted to destroy the Union in the American Civil War 150 years ago," the article says.
"Russia cannot have peace and Ukraine, and it can only dream of empire by annexing Crimea and Donbas. Neither war in its full sense nor peace is likely anytime soon. Since Lavrov's and Putin's lies show that they refuse to accept that empire is beyond their reach, they are only hastening what will eventually be the crash of their entire project, and more likely than not, it will be a violent crash," Blank said.