The Ukraine Crisis Current Situation

 

The annexation of Crimea stands as "fait accompli"- no one is challenging it

Eastern Ukraine isolated by rebels from the rest of the country

Minsk Agreement II is active with heavy weaponry withdrawn and less violations of the cease fire

Although the withdrawal lines established, the cease fire is very fragile

Spread of corruption, crimes and disorder are significant across Ukraine (check this video from a British Business man based in Ukraine). The country is close to bankruptcy

More than 6000 deaths, more than 15000 injured and around a million refugees displaced to other parts of the country


The UK Perspective of the Ukraine Conflict:

The House of Lords report on EU-Russia relations states that the Foreign Office has lost expertise and analytical capacity on Russia and the region, and that the UK and other EU Member States were unable to read events on the ground and offer an authoritative response. The Government needs to reconsider how it can regain these skills. The majority of the political class from across the board in the UK considers the Minsk Agreement II was dead from the very start.

The sanctions are showing impact on the Russian Economy, through currency collapse, higher interest rates, recession and higher inflation, capital outflows, foreign exchange reserves depletion, reduced consumer spending, stock market crash, potential credit rating downgrade, possible capital controls, and eventual debt default.

The UK is inclined to push for tightening sanctions through the EU such as a ban of financial institutions from Russia from using the SWIFT inter bank payment system. 

 

According to Bloomberg Business Week, "The Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Inter bank Financial Telecommunication system, known as SWIFT, is a secure messaging system used by more than 10,500 banks for international money transfers. Without it, Russian banks and their customers couldn't readily send or receive money across the country's borders, which would wreak havoc on trade, investment, and millions of routine financial transactions. SWIFT has to comply with EU decisions because the organization is incorporated under Belgian law."

The UK engagement in this conflict is not likely to increase in the immediate coming months due to the upcoming elections in May which are dominated by local politics rather than foreign affairs. Post elections, the UK is expected to play a more crucial role in negotiating with Russia and use the removal of the sanctions as the leverage for negotiations.

 


Military Options :

Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances:

From the Russian perspective, an internal process  led to the separation of Crimea from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation .

From the US and UK perspective, the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation was a threat to territorial integrity and in breach of the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. In this case, this should have required the intervention of the UK and the US to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Despite this, the military intervention is a very low probability because of the Russian military status and capabilities. Any direct military confrontation with Russia is not a feasible policy in the UK even amongst the hardliners . 

Any intervention can happen only as part of NATO.NATO is less likely to intervene as explained by their  Secretary General here. If the UK or any other Western allies supply arms to Ukraine, the effects could create a situation in which different parties supplying weapons to the country 's fractions may not be tracked and increase destabilisation of the region.

The UK can push , through NATO, training of Ukraine's Government's Order Forces and Military Defence Forces to protect its territorial borders.