Kyiv Security Forum

Ukraine’s task is to turn the occupied territories into heavy burden for Russia - James Sherr

07 April 2017, 12:13

"The task of Ukraine is to make the territories occupied by Russia an intolerable burden for it aimed at losing the desire to further develop of its separatism strategy", James Sherr, Associate Fellow of the Chatham House, noted during the 10th Kyiv Security Forum, organized by the Arseniy Yatsenyuk Foundation Open Ukraine.

Speaking about today's Russia, James Sherr noted that there are two main and, at the same time, contradictory moments that characterize it. "Firstly, this is the fact that Russia has changed since 2014. Today it is under pressure of sanctions, changes in the energy market, programs of modernization and expansion of the economy, pressure for participation in Syria, burden of militarism and occupation of the Crimea as well as the war in Donbass. At the same time, Russia has not changed. It continues to try withstanding pressure and even ready and able to maintain the ability of using pressure on other countries. At the same time, creating new forms of such pressure", the British expert noted.

According to James Sherr, goals of Russia in Ukraine have not changed, but its strategy has transformed over the past three years. "In 2014, its main goal was to subjugate Ukraine. In 2017, this goal remains, however, aspiration to disorganize Ukraine was added. At the same time, Russia's strategy in Ukraine has changed. Seeing that "Novorossia" project has died early in 2014, and also compelling Ukraine to implement the Minsk agreements on favorable terms for it, Russia has moved to a new strategy — the strategy of separatism, which implies not only separation of territories, but also the division of the economies of the occupied territories on the east from the Ukrainian economy," said James Sherr.

"The decision of the Ukrainian leadership regarding the blockade gives Ukraine the initiative in confronting Russia. However, to be understood that such a decision would be followed by consequences. And today the question is will Ukraine cope with these consequences. Russia believes that Ukraine will not succeed, and it does everything for that. And Ukraine's task is to make the territories occupied by Russia an unbearable burden for it to lost aspiration for further developing this strategy of separatism," the British expert concluded.

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Kyiv Security Forum was launched by the Arseniy Yatsenyuk Foundation Open Ukraine in 2007 is an annual international event to high-level discussions on the current issues in the Black Sea region and wider Europe. The Forum aims at increasing security cooperation between the EU and the Black Sea region, raising awareness about regional developments among key regional players, promoting the role of independent and non-governmental actors in setting the security agenda in Europe.