In January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with US State Secretary John Kerry in Zurich. Earlier, during his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Kerry said that sanctions against Russia could be removed "within months" if the Minsk agreements were fully implemented.
"The statement was notable, since the United States has taken a hard line relative to European countries on maintaining sanctions against Russia. But while the European Union recently voted to extend sanctions on Russia for six months, several European officials have made it clear that they wish to lift EU sanctions on Russia when they come under review in July," the article read.
Lifting sanctions is one of the priorities for Russia which is now struggling with economic difficulties due the slump in global oil prices and the falling ruble. However, the author added, the EU has also sustained losses due to Russia’s response. Both Moscow and Brussels would "benefit significantly" if sanctions were lifted.
Moscow and the West have one common enemy in Syria – Daesh (also known as the Islamic State terrorist group). There is also the potential for more bargaining. Russia could exact concessions from the US on NATO’s buildup along its borders, according to the article. At the same time, Washington could be interested in cooperation with Moscow on the political settlement to the Syrian conflict.
"Both sides are still working on opposite ends of the fight, but their shared interest in containing the security threat of the Islamic State, which has struck both Europe and Russia, presents an opportunity for cooperation on other issues," it read.
However, compromise over Ukraine may be hampered by the growing political instability in the country, the author underscored. Ratings of the ruling coalition led by President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk are falling. In addition, reforms have stalled and the economic crisis in deepening.
"There is certainly a lot that stands in the way of an end to the conflict in Ukraine. But recent developments suggest Kiev, Moscow and the West could be more open to advancing negotiations in the coming months. They should be taken seriously," the article concluded.