Although the Minsk process brought about a de-escalation of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, not all of its 13 points have been implemented, including a ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weaponry. In the absence of a military option, economic sanctions have become the core instrument of the EU and the US, to respond to Russia’s aggression. At the end of June 2016, when EU Heads of State and Government meet to discuss the extension of sanctions against Russia, they should bear in mind that Russia did not implement the commitments it took upon itself in the framework of the Minsk agreements. Given the persistent deadlock in the Ukraine crisis, the leaders of the EU ought to agree to prolong the sanctions against Russia, push for the renegotiation of the Minsk II agreement, widen the ‘Normandy format’ to include the US and bolster reforms in Ukraine.
Hrant Kostanyan is a Researcher at CEPS, a Senior Key Expert at the College of Europe Natolin and an Adjunct Professor at Vesalius College. Stefan Meister is Head of the Program for Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia, at the Robert Bosch Center, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP).