Vladimir Putin meeting with Bashar al-Assad. Kremlin.ru
Nikolas K. Gvosdev, National Interest: Is Russia Really Winning in Syria and Ukraine?
Moscow didn’t expect things would go this badly.
Moscow just can’t catch a break. Last month, the Kremlin was shifting the discussion on Ukraine away from Russia’s involvement towards Ukraine’s noncompliance with the Minsk Accords, and preliminary discussions were underway among European Union ministers to examine whether the sanctions imposed on Russia might be open to modification or suspension. In Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were promoting the idea of a joint Russian-American effort to craft a political solution to Syria’s civil war and to increased intelligence sharing to target Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. It appeared that Vladimir Putin was succeeding in his efforts to highlight Russia’s role as a responsible state actor in the international system—and to put the unpleasantness of the last several years behind him.
There was a growing expectation that some sort of relaxation of European sanctions on Russia, particularly the financial restrictions, as well as the prohibitions on technology transfers for new energy projects, would be forthcoming, allowing for some of the major new projects that had been delayed to resume in 2017. Indeed, in mid-September U.S. vice president Joe Biden warned that European unity in maintaining the sanctions regime could be at risk.
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WNU Editor: Is Russia really winning in Syria and Ukraine? The short answer is no. Syria is a quagmire .... and will be for a long time. And Ukraine is not going to be solved until the Ukraine government sits down and gives the Ukrainian-Russians in the east what they want .... some form of autonomy when it comes to their cultural (and to a certain degree) economic affairs ... but i do not see that happening in the next few years. But in the long term Russia will get what they want .... a neutered Ukraine once an agreement is made with the rebellious east, and a Syria that will continue to be a loyal ally to Russia.