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  • Affiliation : Director General, Russian International Affairs Council
  • Affiliation : Journalist
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International Security Index iSi increased to 2811 points. Eggert, Kortunov comment events of the week.

19.11.2014

MOSCOW, NOVEMBER 19, 2014. PIR PRESS “After the G-20 summit in Brisbane, a moment of clear decision-making comes for Moscow on what outcome it expects for the crisis in the south-east of Ukraine. G-20 summit was one of the last points, where the Kremlin could decide to soften its position on Ukraine and improve relations with the West. However, the country has not taken advantage of this opportunity”, – Member of the Royal Institute of International Relations, journalist Konstantin von Eggert.

The new weekly International Security Index iSi was published in Kommersant (in Russian)

During the week of November 10-17, 2014, the International Security Index iSi increased to 2811 points. In Australia, at the G-20 summit the problems of the world economy, the crisis in Ukraine, the Ebola epidemics in Africa were discussed. In Syria, the army regained control over the Damascus-Baghdad highway, previously captured by Islamists. In Iraq, the army strengthened its position near the town of Baiji near major oil refinery captured by militants of the Islamic state. In the West Bank, took place clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli army. In the southeast of Ukraine occurred fighting for control of the Donetsk airport between the army and the militias; Gorlovka village was shelled, there were casualties. Petr Poroshenko signed a decree on withdrawing of the state-run services form the parts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions controlled by militias. Azerbaijan shot down the helicopter of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic on the contact line that delimits the Armenian and Azerbaijani troops. Republic of Korea and the United States began regular military exercises in the south of the Korean Peninsula, which led to criticism from the DPRK.

Comments on the week's events by members of the International Expert Group of the PIR Center

Konstantin von Eggert, Member of the Royal Institute of International Relations, journalist – by phone from Moscow: The most negative events that affect the global security lately were the Ukrainian crisis and the rise of radical movement Islamic state. The IS crisis in the Middle East is a serious trend that will lead to a new wave of instability. It is an issue for decades. United States’ policy of unfreezing relations with Iran is risky and also rises concerns.

After the G-20 summit in Brisbane, a moment of clear decision-making comes for Moscow on what outcome it expects for the crisis in the southeast of Ukraine. G-20 summit was one of the last points, where the Kremlin could decide to soften its position on Ukraine and improve relations with the West. However, the country has not taken advantage of this opportunity. Now Moscow faces a solid front of countries: United States, Europe and their allies in Asia. And its getting even worse. A number of countries, which Moscow thought it could rely on, especially the BRICS countries and Turkey, are not ready to support us publicly and invest their political and economic resources to this cause.

It is difficult to predict how the crisis in Ukraine will develop as the strategic plan for its settlement is absent in Kiev, Moscow, and in unrecognized Donetsk and Lugansk republics. In the winter of 2014/15, security situation will either remain at the same level or get worse. The reason for that is aggravation of the crisis in Ukraine and major successes of the IS in Syria and Iraq.

Andrey Kortunov (Russia), Director General, Russian Council for Foreign Affairs – by phone from Moscow: We witness the tendency for deterioration of global security situation. The most negative trend of period is continuing aggravation of relations between Russia and the West because of the Ukrainian crisis. Tensions grew between Russia and NATO, Moscow was accused of violations of airspace of Estonia and Lithuania, there were speculation about Russian submarine of the coast of Sweden. Simultaneously there was a build-up of military infrastructure of NATO in close proximity to the Russian borders. Ukrainian crisis went beyond the country’s border and became a systematic problem for Moscow's relations with Washington and Brussels.

Negotiating the future of the southeast, Kiev has to solve social and economic problems. On the background of the growing internal competition between Peter Poroshenko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, it would be premature to claim that new talks in Minsk and Geneva on the status of Donbass would lead anywhere.

The phenomenon of the Islamic state and the rapid progress of the terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq are adverse events of the period, which will aggravate the situation not only in the Middle East but also throughout the world. Currently there are no grounds to hope that there will be a common global strategy to fight the IS and similar terrorist groups anytime soon. One reason for that is the continuing fundamental differences between the West and the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

There is a threat of a large conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, particularly in the Gaza Strip. Potential instability is present in many countries of the Arab world.

The ongoing talks between Iran and six international mediators provide a positive trend of the period. While it is not obvious whether the parties reach the final agreement in determined period, the tension between Tehran and the West have declined. I hope this work will continue.

Winter of 2014/15 will be a difficult period and it will be hard to avoid serious regional crises.

For all the questions concerning the International Security Index please contact Galiya Ibragimova by e-mail ibragimova at pircenter.org

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