RIAC Member Comments

Vladimir Baranovsky: OSCE Mission in Ukraine Is Needed

September 24, 2014

The Ukraine crisis remains one of the most vexed issues on the international agenda. The interested parties are making efforts to resolve it, and important steps towards peace have already been taken. So far, however, this is not enough to halt the bloodshed. The OSCE is actively involved in monitoring events in Ukraine, but many people believe the parties must be more active. How effective is the OSCE in this situation? Vladimir Baranovsky, deputy director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and RIAC member, responds to this question in a quick comment to the RIAC team.

How effective is the OSCE mission in Ukraine? What steps are being taken in terms of resolving the crisis?

​We’ll be able to judge how effective it is when we see the results. In the meantime it’s important that the OSCE turned out to be needed, and that it’s seen as being capable of taking non-partisan action. ​ 

Has the Ukrainian crisis proved to be a unique chance for this organization to step up its activity, which has been on the wane of late?

In the context of the crisis a body has emerged which could be drawn into the efforts to resolve it – and this is something on which all the interested parties are agreed. This alone justifies the role of the OSCE, despite all the criticism that has been levelled against it. ​

In your view, has the Ukraine crisis become – or will it become – an opportunity to reorganise the institutions of cooperation and interaction in Europe? And if so, how will they look?

It’s too early to tell. The focus of attention now is on efforts to resolve the crisis, not on reorganising the systems. A lot of ideas have already been expressed concerning the latter, but for various reasons it has not been possible to convert them into practical action. So far there is no evidence that the Ukraine situation is creating any qualitatively new impetus in that direction. ​

A meeting of the leaders of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and the EU took place at the end of August 2014 in Minsk. Did it leave any trace in the process of resolving the crisis? Were any substantial agreements achieved? Are they being adhered to?

Despite many sceptical predictions, the meeting turned out to be a starting point for the constructive steps that followed.​ The Minsk agreements in September would scarcely have been possible without the Minsk meeting in August. What is important here is not the sequence of steps in terms of their content (what those involved managed to agree on and what they did not) but the breakthrough in political terms – they embarked on a process of reaching agreements on finding a way out of deadlock.

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