Ukraine 101:

  • No significant developments.

West’s leverage over Russia:

  • Prickly relations with Russia and lagging reforms in Ukraine risk souring the mood for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as it holds its annual meeting this week against a mostly cheerful background of quickening global growth. Russia, once the bank’s biggest lending destination, will again challenge a ban on new investments that the EBRD imposed after Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. (Reuters, 05.09.17)

Russia’s leverage over West:

  • No significant developments.

Russia’s leverage over Ukraine:

  • No significant developments.

Casualties and costs for Russia, West and Ukraine:

  • One Ukrainian serviceman has been killed and nine wounded in eastern Ukraine over the past 24 hours, the press center of Ukraine’s Anti-Terrorist Operation headquarters said in its Facebook update on May 9. On May 6, five Ukrainian soldiers had been wounded in Donbas over the previous 24 hours, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, told a briefing in Kiev. On May 5, the ATO headquarters reported on Facebook that ten more Ukrainian soldiers had been wounded in Donbas in the previous 24 hours. (BBC, 05.06.17, BBC, 05.05.17, BBC, 05.09.17)
  • A woman was wounded in the settlement of Frunze in the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic as it came under shelling by Ukrainian troops, a spokesman for the LPR’s militias said on May 7. (TASS, 05.07.17)
  • A Russian law aimed at restricting express money transfers from Russia to other states with the help of foreign payment systems came into force on May 4. The law is primarily a response to Ukraine’s ban of Russian payment systems. (TASS, 05.04.17)

Impact of Russia’s actions vis-à-vis Ukraine on other countries:

  • No significant developments.

Red lines and tripwires:

  • The U.S. military mission in Europe has said that it relocated a tactical headquarters and 100 troops to Poland from Germany to facilitate the command of U.S. rotational forces recently deployed to the region. Some 6,000 U.S. troops have deployed this year to the region. (RFE/RL, 05.05.17)
  • The Pentagon has confirmed it will send the Army’s Dagger Brigade—the Second Armored Brigade of the First Infantry Division—to Europe this September in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the American military’s response to Russian meddling in Ukraine. At full strength, Dagger has a little more than 4,000 troops. (Wall Street Journal, 05.03.17)

Factors and scenarios that could cause resumption of large-scale hostilities or lead to accident between Western and Russian forces in Europe:

  • Estonia said May 5 that a Russian IL-96 passenger plane, allegedly carrying Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to neighboring Finland, briefly violated Estonian airspace on the evening of May 3. (AP, 05.05.17)
  • “If you now send German tanks to the border with Russia in Lithuania, then you can’t forget history,” said Tobias Pflueger, vice president of Germany’s pacifist Left party, referring to calls for NATO to help protect their Baltic alliesfrom an increasingly threatening Russia. (Reuters, 05.09.17)

Arming and training of Ukrainian forces by Western countries:

  • No significant developments.

Strategies and actions recommended:

  • No significant developments.

Analysis:

  • Michael Kofman, Katya Migacheva, Brian Nichiporuk, Andrew Radin, Olesya Tkacheva and Jenny Oberholtzer wrote in a new RAND report: “If Russia seeks to spread instability to other neighboring states, then it may seek to use an adapted version of its approach in Ukraine. There is undoubtedly some broader applicability to other former Soviet Republics with Russian-speaking populations. However, Russia’s seizure of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine may have instigated preparations among its neighbors that would render such operations more complex to conduct in the future.” (RAND Corporation, May 2015)
  • Steven Pifer of the Brookings Institution wrote: “As the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas enters its fourth year, the line of contact separating Ukrainian and Russian/separatist forces is hardening. Nothing suggests the sides will soon make significant progress on implementing the Minsk II settlement agreement, reached more than two years ago. By all appearances, the Kremlin prefers a simmering conflict that it can use to put pressure on and destabilize the Ukrainian government.” (Brookings Institution, 05.02.17)
  • Keir Giles, an associate fellow in the Russia and Eurasia Program at Chatham House, wrote: “Impressive capabilities demonstrated in Ukraine and Syria have given rise to concern that Western armed forces may find it difficult to cope with an operating environment dominated by new Russian weapons systems for which they have neglected to adopt countermeasures.” (Task Force White Paper, Carnegie Endowment, 05.03.17)

Other important news:

  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will host Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on May 10 for talks at the U.S. State Department in the Russian envoy’s first visit to Washington since 2013. The chief U.S. diplomat and his Russian counterpart will discuss the Ukraine conflict and the need to fully implement cease-fire and peace agreements known as the Minsk agreements, which were supposed to be sealed by the end of 2015, though few of the pledges have been fully completed. (Wall Street Journal, 05.08.17)
  • Andriy Artemenko, a Ukrainian lawmaker whose plan to resolve the three-year-old conflict in Ukraine reportedly wound up on the desk of then-U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn, has been stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship by presidential decree, Ukraine’s State Migration Service says. (RFE/RL, 05.05.17)
  • Ukrainian nationalists clashed with pro-Russian groups at a rally in Kiev to mark Victory Day. The celebrations honoring the Soviet Union’s Red Army are viewed by many nationalists as tantamount to supporting Russia. About 50 people were arrested as a result of the clashes. (AP, 05.09.17)
  • Steven Seagal, the American actor best known for his role in ’90s action movies such as “Hard to Kill” and “Under Siege,” has been blacklisted from Ukraine as a national security threat. (The Washington Post, 05.06.17)
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