Conflict in Eastern Ukraine: Outlook for 2021
Chief of Staff, Office of the President of Ukraine
Renata Alt, MP
Member of the German Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee;
FDP parliamentary group’s rapporteur on relations with Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Balkans
Ambassador Rolf Nikel
Vice President, DGAP
Associate Fellow, DGAP
Although no longer the focus of European media attention, the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine continues with increasing military and civilian casualties. The ceasefire is violated daily – in February 2021 alone, the fighting killed seven Ukrainian soldiers and wounded many more. If humanitarian and political issues are left unresolved, it will be difficult to maintain the fragile situation along the contact line. Therefore, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is calling for a new summit in the “Normandy Four” format with Germany and France. So far, however, Russia has refused to agree, demanding that the decisions of the previous summit held in December 2019 get fully implemented first – while it moves against those decisions with its political and military support for Donbass separatists.
In this online discussion, we evaluate whether the diplomatic process on Eastern Ukraine will become more difficult since Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky decided to shut down three TV stations that are linked to pro-Kremlin oligarch for spreading Russian "disinformation". We also examine what could be achieved in the course of 2021 with parliamentary elections in both Russia and Germany on the horizon.
The event was held in German and Ukrainian with simultaneous translation. This recording only contains the original audio track without translation.