Steven Pifer looks at the Steinmeier formula and whether agreeing to it indicates that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has given way to the Kremlin in trying to resolve the Donbas conflict.
Part of the requirement of the plan is that the OSCE should supervise local elections in the conflict regions and, only if declared free and fair, would the region get special devolved status. The OSCE has not supervised (ie run) elections for almost two decades. The methodology used now is that the organisation merely observes. And the reports it produces are far more detailed and nuanced than simply declaring whether or not elections are free and fair. So the questions raised are: Is the OSCE expected to take on a supervisory role and how would this come about? Or was this a mistake in language? And if the report is more nuanced than a simple binary declaration, who will make the decision as to whether the threshold for devolution has been passed?
Still on the subject of Ukraine and Steinmeier, the Khasrkiv Human Rights Protection Group reports that the majority of Ukrainians oppose the plan for special status for the Donbas conflict areas, especially if there is a quid pro quo that would recognise the Crimea as Russian.
Finally (but still Ukraine related), Steven Pifer makes it two articles in this list with an analysis of that Trump/Zelensky phone call and what it means for the US President’s understanding of the issues facing Ukraine.