The new threat of war over Ukraine resulting from the Russian demands of December 2021 should focus the minds of U.S. and European policymakers on the unsolved dispute that is responsible for much of the tension between Russia and Ukraine, and that provides the most likely flashpoint for war. The Donbas conflict, which has cost more than 14,000 lives since 2015, is at permanent risk of breaking out again with disastrous results. By the same token, a solution to the conflict would contribute greatly to an improvement in wider relations between the West and Russia.
A solution to the conflict is at hand, in the form of the Minsk II agreement of 2015 calling for autonomy for a demilitarized Donbas within Ukraine, under international guarantees. Actually to establish this settlement will however take intensive pressure by the United States and its allies on Ukraine as well as Russia; for since 2015 Ukrainian governments and parliaments have refused to take the essential first steps to its implementation. Läs artikel