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Monday, August 1, 2016

The Ukrainian State Treaty: An Offer Putin Can’t Refuse

The Ukrainian State Treaty: An Offer Putin Can’t Refuse

Why a 1955 neutrality agreement might be the perfect model for a strategic and successful deal between Moscow, Washington, and Kiev.
In late June, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu surprised Western observers when he announced the removal of 50 top naval officers, including both the commander of the Baltic Fleet and his chief of staff, for “dereliction of duty” and “distortion of the real state of things.” Alexey Arbatov, a member of the research council of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responded to the news with a cautionary note for Russian President Vladimir Putin: “NATO deploys a battalion, we respond by deploying an army. If we want to make Sweden and Finland join NATO, there is no better way to do it.” 
In considering what Putin’s true and ultimate goals really are — and whether this culling of senior officers is an indication that he’s changed his tune about confronting the United States and its NATO allies or his domineering plans for Ukraine — the real question for Washington is this: Do these changes provide an opening for a new, more mutually beneficial relationship with Moscow?

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