Russia, Ukraine, Crimea and the Dombas
In Conversation with John Quigley
Prof. John Quigley was Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) expert on Crimea 1994-95. He is a specialist in international law and Professor Emeritus at the Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University. Recently he wrote an article for the Quincy Institute where he discussed a road towards peace in Dombas, Crimea, Russia and Ukraine.
I had a conversation Prof Quigley on the context of his article.
As pointed out we make the mistake of looking at the entire Ukraine through the wrong lens. It’s also not just a country of Russian and Ukrainian speakers, the situation in Crimea for example is entirely different than that in the Dombas, despite both being native Russian speakers. Prof Quickly put proposal on the table for a path to ending the war. It comes down to finding a diplomatic solution and for both sides to make concessions.
Now, if Ukraine does anything even close to implementing the Minsk agreement, Russia could say that the aim of its invasion has been accomplished. Any potential deal could be sweetened for Russia if Ukraine were to show flexibility on the status of Crimea. Russia would likely find some relief if then the West backed off pressuring it to return Crimea to Ukraine. President Zelensky has already floated the possibility that the two sides could arrange a process of discussion about Crimea, a process that he said could last 15 years.
As Anatol Lieven wrote last year, the sad tragedy of this war has been that the Minsk II protocol existed prior to the conflict.
Yet perhaps the most tragic aspect of the seemingly unending Donbas dispute is that, while it may be one of the most dangerous crises in the world today, it is also in principle the most easily solved. A solution exists that was drawn up by France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine and endorsed by the US, the European Union, and the United Nations. This solution corresponds to democratic practice, international law and tradition, and America’s own past approach to the settlement of ethnic and separatist conflicts. Moreover, it requires no concessions of real substance by either Ukraine or the US.
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