icon caret Arrow Down Arrow Left Arrow Right Arrow Up Line Camera icon set icon set Ellipsis icon set Facebook Favorite Globe Hamburger List Mail Map Marker Map Microphone Minus PDF Play Print RSS Search Share Trash Crisiswatch Alerts and Trends Box - 1080/761 Copy Twitter Video Camera  copyview Youtube
Members of self-defence battalions take part in a rally to commemorate demonstrators who were killed during the 2014 Maidan protests in Kiev, Ukraine, 20 February 2016. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Briefing 85 / Europe & Central Asia

乌克兰:军事僵局,政治危机

在历经长达三年的冲突以及一万人死亡之后,俄罗斯证明了它能动摇并掌控乌克兰。基辅当局或许仍可以胜利,但前提是它必须根除腐败,并且美国和欧盟坚持制裁手段——直至俄罗斯从乌克兰东部全面撤军为止。

概述

俄罗斯对乌克兰的军事干预已持续近三年,造成了一万人死亡,并且仍继续全面影响着乌克兰的政治生活。冲突及明斯克和平进程虽均陷入僵局,但分割线两边却几乎每天都有伤亡。僵局中,乌克兰则受害最深。事实上,俄罗斯已经接近其主要目标,即破坏乌克兰稳定,影响其政策选择。不过,俄罗斯胜利所产生的影响远不止于乌克兰当地。俄罗斯在顿巴斯小试牛刀,其也是在试探美国和欧盟的底线。该军事胜利会强化俄罗斯的信号——即,它将不惜一切手段地维护其所认为的国家利益。从长远角度而言,乌克兰仍有机会取得胜利,但前提是它要能铲除腐败现象,使其不再吞噬民众对波罗申科政府的支持。美国和欧盟必须从两方面加以协助:一方面,对乌克兰施加更大的压力,敦促其加快改革;另一方面,对俄罗斯展开——包括制裁在内的——强硬外交,使普京总统彻底意识到,除非从东乌克兰全面撤军,否则其将受到坚决抵制。

乌克兰与俄罗斯对抗的主要策略是拖延战术:面对在俄罗斯武力逼迫下乌克兰签署的不平等条约——2015年《明斯克协议》,波罗申科总统顽固抵制,并将此辩解为国内民众在政治上难以接受协议中的关键条款。该拖延战术虽在处理与俄罗斯的危机部分上有效,但波罗申科却将同样的战术应用于处理另一关键问题——国内的反腐斗争。政府的不作为使民众寒心,也警醒了乌克兰的国际支持者们。自唐纳德•特朗普当选美国总统以来,俄罗斯的风格日渐强硬。乌克兰的盟友们也越来越担心放任腐败所将导致的严重后果,波罗申科政权内某资深政治人物近日则警告了预防危机组织——“普京已占得先机”。

乌克兰方面日益倍感受孤立。加入欧盟的希望一再落空。乌克兰高级官员对欧盟颇有微词,并批评美国的军事援助欠缺诚意。同时,更具潜在危害力的则是,随着军队腐败的指控逐一浮出水面,其体现了乌克兰官员对贯彻改革和反腐倡廉上的无能或无心,而这也消耗了美国和欧洲的耐心和国内的支持率。波罗申科政府的无能殆尽了他与社运分子的关系,尽管当初是独立广场运动将他推到了政权上。乌克兰公共舆论和政府部门日益意识到,本国高层领导人的腐败已然不可救药。

乌克兰日益加剧的对执政的失望和民怨或很快会造成严重后果。一直以来,俄罗斯在乌克兰实行双轨政策,其最终目标是肃清西方势力在乌克兰——该国被俄罗斯认为是其拥有“优先权益”的典型——的影响力。若两个顿巴斯政治体能得以成功巩固,那俄便能够说服自己的民众——北约自苏联解体以来对俄罗斯边界势不可挡的侵略终于结束。俄罗斯还鼓励并协助亲俄派在乌克兰各级立法机关内大幅扩张影响力。这一努力虽尚未成功,但随着物价上涨、丑闻不断、总统及其盟友的支持率在民调中日渐下滑,俄罗斯的目标如今至少有了一些实现的可能性。

各派政治家都相信,大概在2017年上半年,波罗申科在拉达(议会)中拥有的多数派优势将会崩溃,而新的选举会随之到来。在议会中不断取得胜利的党派对俄罗斯的世界观表示认同,并在很大程度上热衷于恢复独立广场运动之前的政治局势。其中一位至少在私下里强调了其与俄罗斯的紧密联系。议会中存在的一大批亲俄政客则将进一步削弱改革派,并可能激发民众运动,正如2004年和2014年一样。

为了维持局面,乌克兰的美国、欧盟和其他支持者需要持续对俄罗斯的压力,并加大对乌克兰当局的压力。它们应该提醒俄方,若要西方停止制裁、并且重新认可其国际大国地位,俄罗斯应从东乌克兰全面撤军。在就乌克兰或欧洲相关事务、与俄罗斯展开对话时,美国和欧盟应将主权问题列入首要议题。其还应提醒俄罗斯的是,俄必须毫不含糊地、全力以赴地解散顿巴斯分裂势力,并尊重该地区所有独立政体的主权,如此则可开辟俄罗斯与西方以及乌克兰之间的互利合作的新时代。然而这个主张却难以推销:俄罗斯不打算在顿巴斯问题上屈服,且似乎相信欧洲和美国的局势正朝着有利于俄罗斯的方向转变。

盟友们也必须对乌克兰领导层采取更强硬的路线。它们可以着手向总统有效指控其亲密伙伴和商业伙伴的腐败行为、坚持要求他在一些案件中采取更及时的态度、罢免涉案人员、杜绝他们侵占国家财政的渠道、加大彻查力度,并在证据确凿的前提下,加快审判进程。为了维护其在国内外的声望,乌克兰领导层应坚决根除腐败。

基辅/布鲁塞尔,2016年12月19日

Ukraine's President Zelensky welcomes former prisoners as they disembark from a plane on September 7, 2019 at Boryspil international airport in Kiev after a long-awaited exchange of prisoners between Moscow and Kiev. AFP/Sergei Supinsky
Q&A / Europe & Central Asia

Ukraine-Russia Prisoner Swap: Necessary, Not Sufficient

A long-awaited prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia marks a positive development in their bilateral relationship. Both countries should now build on their recent progress to implement the 2014-2015 Minsk agreements, the surest path to ending the war in eastern Ukraine.

What happened?

After months of rumours and negotiations, Ukraine and Russia finally exchanged dozens of prisoners, all held in connection with the conflict that began when Russia annexed Crimea in early 2014, and which continues violently in Ukraine’s east.

Moscow released 35 Ukrainian citizens. They included four Crimeans arrested shortly after Russia’s February 2014 takeover of the peninsula, along with 24 sailors whom Russian security forces apprehended in the Black Sea last year. Russian courts had charged them with crimes including terrorism, espionage, conspiracy to violate state borders, and, most bizarrely, killing Russian troops in Chechnya in the mid-1990s. Human rights groups and governments decried these detentions, and viewed the sailors as prisoners of war.

Kyiv also released 35 detainees: 22 Ukrainian citizens, twelve Russian citizens and one Moldovan. Best known is Kirill Vyshynsky, who had directed the Ukrainian branch of Russian state news outlet RIA. Arrested on treason charges last year, he renounced his Ukrainian citizenship. According to Moscow and international human rights groups, his arrest and imprisonment were politically motivated. Other prisoners had been charged with fighting alongside Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine or aligning with Russian troops in Crimea. Most controversially, Kyiv freed Vladimir Tsemakh, a Ukrainian citizen and separatist air defence commander who may have helped conceal the missile that shot down flight MH-17 in July 2014, killing all aboard.

How are Ukrainian and Russian publics reacting?

As the 35 men stepped off the plane in Kyiv on Saturday, the runway erupted with cheers, family members sobbed with relief, and President Zelenskyy teared up. Ukrainian media reflected a celebratory public mood. In Moscow, reactions were more subdued. “Our people have been freed!” tweeted the Russian Embassy in Ukraine after the plane carrying the former prisoners left for Moscow. Yet just a handful of officials met them upon landing and only Vyshynsky has received substantial coverage in the Russian press.

Many in and outside of Ukraine were critical of Tsemakh’s release, arguing that he was needed to prove Russian responsibility for launching the missile that downed flight MH-17. But speaking on the runway Saturday, Zelenskyy told reporters that Dutch investigators had questioned Tsemakh prior to release, and the exchange had been delayed to ensure they and their Ukrainian counterparts had the information they needed from him. Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok told his own country’s parliament the same. But the exchange may well not have happened without Tsemakh.

Are any prisoners still being held?

Ukrainian officials say over 200 citizens, including journalists, are held by de facto authorities in the Russian-backed self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine’s east, known as the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. Some of Kyiv's critics say Ukraine holds thousands of political prisoners, a claim that prominent rights groups have not backed up. Ukrainian authorities have indeed arrested large numbers of people in relation to protests and violence linked to the conflict, but Russian officials generally do not champion these prisoners’ cases publicly. According to media reports, representatives of Kyiv and the breakaway regions may meet on 18 September to discuss a trade.

Separately, according to Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman Lyudmila Denysova, 113 Ukrainian citizens are imprisoned in Crimea and Russia for political reasons. They include 89 Crimean Tatars accused of terrorism (critics of Russia say these are false charges premised on silencing opponents of annexation). On 10 September, Denysova said Kyiv was negotiating with Moscow for their release too.

What does this mean for prospects for peace?

The prisoner exchange is the latest and most notable in a series of recent positive steps. Kyiv and Russian-backed entities in eastern Ukraine recommitted to a ceasefire that has, over the past six weeks, brought civilian deaths down to zero. They further agreed to repair a long-destroyed bridge connecting the de facto Luhansk People’s Republic to government-held Ukraine. Kyiv has also spoken of reinstating trade across the front lines, which, apart from rebuilding commercial and social ties, could improve dire living conditions in separatist-held areas. In this context, the exchange signals Kyiv’s and Moscow’s willingness to make concessions. Moreover, the apparent public support for Saturday’s exchange strengthens Zelenskyy’s mandate to pursue compromise and defy hardline critics.

Still, no one should overstate the significance of this event: real progress in ending the conflict requires each side to implement the stalled 2014-2015 Minsk agreements. That means Russia must withdraw its forces from eastern Ukraine and suspend support to groups it backs in that region. Kyiv, for its part, needs to hold elections, implement an amnesty, permit some form of self-governance in these territories and fulfil its other obligations to enable reintegration. The two sides have yet to agree on the sequence of these steps.

What’s next?

Kyiv seeks a meeting of the Normandy quartet, which brings together Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany, to chart a way to peace. Should it take place soon and produce clear steps to advance the Minsk agreements or otherwise improve Russia-Ukraine relations, the meeting could be cause for optimism. Further prisoner exchanges, restoration of legal trade and eased travel restrictions between Ukraine and its breakaway regions (including by repairing the bridge mentioned above), or between Ukraine and Russia, would signal a continued thaw.

Much could derail progress; worst would be a recurrence of fighting in eastern Ukraine. How Zelenskyy responds to domestic pressure from those opposed to further concessions bears watching, as does rhetoric from both Moscow and Kyiv in the coming weeks and months. The EU and its member states, the U.S., and other interested parties can improve prospects for peace by welcoming the steps Ukraine and Russia have taken so far and facilitating further dialogue, including through the Normandy format.

Contributors

Senior Analyst, Ukraine
Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
OlyaOliker