The ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine has not been resolved since 2014 and has been steadily worsened by the various actions of the parties. Various methods for solving the crisis have been tried by the international community. Although some of these have partially yielded results, no final solution has been reached.
CONFLICT WITH RUSSIA
A multifaceted analysis should be carried out to determine the least costly method of solving the problem. First, I will address the unilateral invasion of Russia. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia has always posed a threat to countries in the region of its sphere of influence.
The crises of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Transnistria crisis with Moldova and the Syria Civil War were the crises in which the Russians were directly involved. In addition, many countries such as Azerbaijan, Turkey, Armenia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have been directly or indirectly affected by the tensions created by Russia. The crisis in Ukraine is one of the biggest crises that Russia is involved in. Among the causes of the crisis are countries other than Russia, which is the biggest cause of the war and the increase in its cost.
Russia, whose economic structure is not balanced and unstable, uses the military-nuclear power and natural resource riches it inherited from the Soviet Union as an effective foreign policy tool. That’s why Ukrainian separatists have been able to resist the central government for nearly seven years. Proxy wars, which are reflected in the present day as a relic of the Cold War years, are far from over. Even conflicts with Russia’s proxy groups, which have a large military force, have caused so much losses, while direct conflict with Russia will produce the most costly outcome for Ukraine.
NATO & UN INTERVENTION
Another movement that will escalate tensions in the region and further impasse the problem is NATO’s intervention in the region. The Russia-Ukraine crisis was born as a result of the activities of the Russian government, which has already refused to accept Ukraine’s rapprochement with the West.
NATO’s intervention in areas with strong Russian influence, such as Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, will take the problems to a greater scale. The biggest losses for everyone will be in this option. The Syria Civil War is the greatest example of this. The war, which has not ended for nearly 11 years, has not only caused severe damage to both Syria and the countries of the region, but has also deeply affected regions such as Europe. The united nations will be the only acceptable authority on foreign interference.
The United Nations Peacekeepers can be deployed to the region to prevent continued fighting and reduce civilian casualties. However, the Ukrainian government will not accept this situation. Because from the Ukrainian side, there is no conflict between the two legitimate parties. In cities like Donetsk and Luhansk, there are terrorists who have hijacked the government.
The construction of a UN wall between these groups will not be accepted by the Ukrainian side. For this reason, UN intervention can provoke the parties and lead to an increase in conflicts and prolonged war in the long run.
INDIRECT SUPPORT TO UKRAINE
Indirect support for Ukraine will reduce costs or even lead to profits for other countries. Methods such as increasing arms sales to Ukraine, improving trade relations, granting loans, etc. will not be useful for Ukraine and the resolution of the crisis. Any support for Ukraine will be met with increased Russian support for the separatists. This will only lead to the growth of the scale of the war and the increase in its cost.
Logically, the most cost-effective solution for countries outside the crisis is to do nothing. Of course, this is related to the fact that the division of Ukraine and the destabilization of the region are not seen as a loss. It is not possible for the Ukrainian state to deal with Russia if the crisis is not intervened. In the following years, the war will absolutely result in the partition of the Ukraine. Such a scenario would have one of the most costly consequences for the Black Sea and its surrounding geography. Relations between Ukraine, Russia and newly established countries will deteriorate steadily. Regional trade will suffer and a new North Korea-South Korea scene will be moved to the international arena. The formation of such a Northern Black Sea would be harmful both for countries bordering the Black Sea and for European-Central Asian countries that use this geography through natural gas trade.
The most reasonable and cost-effective method is, of course, multilateral diplomacy. A broad-perspective platform that will include parties such as Russia, Ukraine, the European Union, the United States, Belarus, countries bordering the Black Sea, separatists and the UN should be active in solving the problem. Methods such as referendums and popular vote should be used effectively to solve the problem. However, it should be ensured that neither party engages in activities that affect the outcome, as in the Crimean referendum.
Diplomatic negotiations will surely be deadlocked at some point. In the face of this situation, what Western states should do is force Ukraine to make concessions. As seen in Syria, an absolute win is not possible for either side. It is also fanciful for Russia to withdraw its full hand from the region. For this reason, Ukraine should be forced to take some backward steps in order to end the humanitarian, economic and regional consequences of the crisis. Russia and its supporters must also back down on the independence of the separatists.
If the United States and the EU play a role in such a policy, they can be ensured to remain affiliated with Ukraine as autonomous republics and some trade concessions can be granted to Russia at the borders of these regions. In this way, both regional trade and the economy are strengthened to heal the wounds of war, and both sides win. As a result, it is important for the Ukrainian government to show its people that it has not lost territory.
For the separatists, it is important to force Ukraine to accept something. Both sides will get what they want from here. The Russians, on the other hand, will not want a new crisis to arise in order to protect their economic interests from the region. The European Union will also breathe a sigh of relief as a result of resolving the biggest crisis on the agenda with Russia. Membership in the European Union of a country with serious internal problems, such as Ukraine, is not really desirable.
This rhetoric, which is used as leverage against Russia, will be shelved after the crisis is resolved. For the European Union, improving its relations with Russia, where it imports natural gas, is much more important than Ukraine. The United States, on the other hand, will continue its NATO concessions, which it has started to use more actively in the Black Sea due to the crisis, under the pretext of following the process. Americans who acquire a more active presence in the Black Sea will also support the solution presented.
This is the picture for Donetsk and Luhansk. While the Crimea issue is much more complicated, it is impossible for Russia to back down. The fact that the actors in the Crimea crisis are directly Russia and Ukraine makes the solution more difficult. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a diplomatic solution for Crimea. To support Russia against Ukraine would be to ignite a great war and the destruction of Ukraine. The most cost-effective solution for Crimea would be to do nothing. Russia has got what it wants in Crimea, and for the sake of both the region and Ukraine, other countries must be kept quiet.