February 2018

A Chance for Peace in Ukraine?


To many who assumed that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict would calm down in 2018, the end of 2017 foretold quite the opposite. The conflict is back in motion, yet with some contradictory signals. On the plus side, the biggest swap of prisoners was held between Ukraine and the Russian-backed militants since the beginning of the war. This demonstrated that some progress on humanitarian issues is possible with the help of the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group.

Eastern Mediterranean - new area of Russia's interests

By A.Ahmadbayli

It seems the Eastern Mediterranean is becoming the area of Russia’s keen interest. In addition to the Syrian Tartus naval base controlled by Russia, on Feb. 3, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev issued an order for the Ministry of Defense to sign military cooperation agreement with Lebanon, entailing, among other things, access of Russian warships and military aircraft to Lebanese ports and military airfields, military exercises, training of Lebanese army staff etc.

The new EU «road map»

By D. Rosanov

The European Commission has issued a "road map" for the expansion of the European Union at the expense of the Balkan countries. So far, Serbia and Montenegro remain the main candidates for membership. One of the reasons for the increased attention of Brussels to the Balkans is an attempt to neutralize the geopolitical influence of Russia and China, Brussels said.

Moscow strengthens military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

Moscow has strengthened the potential capacity of military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in connection with the threats coming from Afghanistan. Within the CIS, work is in progress on a regional border security system, the Head of the Third CIS Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Alexander Sternik said in interview with RIA Novosti.

United States and Turkey: A Vulnerable Relationship

By Ozgur Unluhisarcikli

The U.S.–Turkey relationship has always been difficult, but never so vulnerable. Diverging priorities and, it is time to say, contravening strategies in Syria have brought the two allies to the breaking point. The core of the disagreement has been the difference between the American and Turkish perceptions of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed branch the People’s Protection Units (YPG).