Polish, Hungarian, Slovak and Americans experts from the Vilnius-based Eastern Europe Studies Centre issued a report earlier this week, stating that despite a recent decrease in fighting between Ukrainian government forces and separatists, Ukraine is not seriously considering integrating the Donbas part controlled by separatists.
“At the minimum, it shows unwillingness to start a political dialogue with the existing rebel leaders (…). A stable political decision, unfortunately, still seems to be very far away,” the report says.
The experts believe Ukraine should take advantage of the drop in fighting in Donbas and modernize state institutions, promote growth, reduce corruption and start “a realistic and comprehensive” decentralization process that should curb separatists’ ambitions and finally bring the separatist-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk areas under Ukrainian influence.
A war between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces has been taking place since last April and the death toll has exceeded 6,000, UN figures show. The armed conflict broke out after Russia annexed Ukraine’s autonomous Crimean Peninsula last March.