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What is the trajectory of European-Russian relations, three years after the outbreak of conflict in Eastern Ukraine? At the fourth session of the German-Russian International Dialogue (GRID) on “Russia and Europe in Times of Uncertainty”, the participants discussed current developments in the relationship between Europe and Russia. 

As part of the German-Russian International Dialogue, Russian and German politicians and experts come together twice a year to discuss questions of European security and EU-Russia relations in a confidential atmosphere. The aim is to enable a stable group of participants to continually share their experiences and to develop understandings about the perspectives for EU-Russia relations. Meetings alternate between Moscow and Berlin. The Körber Foundation runs the project together with the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC).


What is the trajectory of European-Russian relations, three years after the outbreak of conflict in Eastern Ukraine? At the fourth session of the German-Russian International Dialogue (GRID) on “Russia and Europe in Times of Uncertainty”, the participants discussed current developments in the relationship between Europe and Russia. 

As part of the German-Russian International Dialogue, Russian and German politicians and experts come together twice a year to discuss questions of European security and EU-Russia relations in a confidential atmosphere. The aim is to enable a stable group of participants to continually share their experiences and to develop understandings about the perspectives for EU-Russia relations. Meetings alternate between Moscow and Berlin. The Körber Foundation runs the project together with the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC).

Originaly published in Körber-Stiftung website.


Executive Summary

  • The outcome of the US presidential elections has added new uncertainties to the relationship between Russia and the West. A substantial improvement of US-Russian relations is not to be expected. For Europe, the main lesson learned is to take on more responsibility in foreign and security policy. For Ukraine this implies that conflict resolution efforts in Eastern Ukraine are at risk of turning into a “leaderless process,” even more so in light of the upcoming elections in France and Germany.
  • Existing mechanisms and platforms for managing European security could be used to reduce the risk of accidental confrontations, including the NATO-Russia Council’s Cooperative Airspace Initiative (CAI), the OSCE’s Vienna Document, and bilateral agreements.
  • International integration projects in global trade are suffering from fragmentation in the wake of Brexit and US withdrawal from TPP. From a Russian perspective, refusing cooperation between the EU and the EEU was a form of European “self-negation.”
  • The chances for cooperation in Syria and Afghanistan remain limited. From a Russian perspective, Syria could have descended into a “Libya scenario” without intervention. From a German viewpoint, the Syrian people’s right to determine their own future has to be respected. With regard to Afghanistan, participants considered the current level of stability as inadequate. Given the potential risk of a premature withdrawal of NATO-led forces, Russia might become more actively involved in Afghanistan in the future.


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Poll conducted

  1. Korean Peninsula Crisis Has no Military Solution. How Can It Be Solved?
    Demilitarization of the region based on Russia-China "Dual Freeze" proposal  
     36 (35%)
    Restoring multilateral negotiation process without any preliminary conditions  
     27 (26%)
    While the situation benefits Kim Jong-un's and Trump's domestic agenda, there will be no solution  
     22 (21%)
    Armed conflict still cannot be avoided  
     12 (12%)
    Stonger deterrence on behalf of the U.S. through modernization of military infrastructure in the region  
     4 (4%)
    Toughening economic sanctions against North Korea  
     2 (2%)
 
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