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    Eastern Ukraine War Likely to Become Long-Term Frozen Conflict - Stratfor

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    The conflict in eastern Ukraine is likely to turn into a frozen conflict, the US-based geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor said in its annual forecast for 2016.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Stratfor added that differences in interpretation of the Minsk agreements between Russia, local militias on the one side and Ukraine and the West on the other "will prevent a broader political and military settlement from being reached in 2016."

    "The war in eastern Ukraine is likely to become a long-term frozen conflict, with fighting less intense than that seen in 2015 but periodic skirmishes continuing between Ukrainian security forces and Russian-backed separatists," the think tank says.

    Eastern Ukraine has been suffering from a crisis triggered by a military operation launched by Kiev authorities in April 2014 against local militias. The latter have refused to recognize the pro-Western government in Kiev imposed by what they consider to be a coup earlier in 2014.

    Further assessing the situation in Ukraine, Stratfor said that far-right Ukrainian nationalists would continue playing an important role in the country's politics, undermining capabilities of the Ukrainian government next year.

    "Far-right and nationalist groups will continue to undermine the Ukrainian government and hamper Kiev's ability to follow through with its political concessions to the separatists," the think tank said adding that this would guarantee that Donbas "will remain beyond Kiev's political control."

    Among other challenges Kiev might face Stratfor mentions "unpopularity of painful austerity measures" and "a slow pace of legal and judicial reform" that are likely to trigger "significant shake-up in Kiev in 2016," including resignation of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

    "Nevertheless, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will likely maintain Kiev's pro-West course. Access to Western financial support and security assistance from NATO and the United States in particular are key to the survival of the Ukrainian government," Stratfor stressed.



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