16:31 GMT +323 August 2017
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    Situation in Donbass

    Russia Takes 'Wait-and-See' Position on Ukrainian Crisis

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    President Vladimir Putin’s annual call-in session on Thursday offered insight into Russia’s position on Ukraine and on the ongoing crisis in the neighboring country. Radio Sputnik discussed the issue with Nicolai Petro, professor of comparative and international politics at the University of Rhode Island.

    When asked if one should expect any progress in tackling the conflict in Donbass, Nicolai Petro said that there have been signs of Kiev now willing to turn its “antiterrorist operation” in eastern Ukraine into “a permanent military occupation” of eastern Ukraine.

    On Wednesday, just a day ahead of President Putin’s live call-in show, Ukrainian MP Andriy Teterup said that he planned to submit a proposal for parliamentary consideration to change the format of Kiev’s military operation in Donbass.

    He added that if approved, it would help complete the present phase of the “antiterrorist operation” and would add a new dimension to the whole operation.

    "This could apparently be done to make the conflict recognized as an official war between Russia and Ukraine,” Dr. Petro noted.

    He added that such plans have so far been “shot down” by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko though.

    “Maybe this was just a trial balloon to see how President Putin might respond and whether he would be open to any other settlement format beyond the Minsk one. None of that was addressed by Putin, who basically let the entire issue slide. Putin is taking a wait-and-see [tactic] to see what new suggestions the Ukrainian side will come up with to end the conflict, to which Russia does not consider itself a formal party,” professor Petro continued.

    The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the Western-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev.
    Residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

    Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.

    Related:

    Calm Before the Storm? What Awaits Donbass Once Kiev's 'Special Operation' Ends
    The Bloodthirsty: Poroshenko Openly Calls for Continuing Donbass War
    Tags:
    "antiterrorist operation", conflict in Donbass, Ukrainian crisis, University of Rhode Island, Verhovna Rada, Andriy Teteruk, Nicolai Petro, Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko, Donbass, Ukraine, Russia
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