Top 4 Ukraine scenarios - from peace enforcement to war

The U.S., EU and Russia have still opportunity to settle the conflict peacefully putting aside national interests, mutual distrust and the will to dominate

Maria Dubovikova
Maria Dubovikova
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The crisis in Ukraine persists as international tensions remain intense. There are many articles that have analyzed the current state of affairs, while many have already written on what should be done to settle the conflict and which steps should be taken. But the most vital questions is what will actually be done and how will the situation will develop.

The development of the crisis lies between two vectors: the interdependence of world powers and the internal Ukrainian situation.

So for Ukraine there is four possible scenarios.

If international tensions between the West and Russia calm and Kiev starts national dialogue, this would be the best and the most wishful development if the declared intentions [to settle the Ukrainian conflict] are true.

This scenario assumes the reasonability and adequacy of all the parties. Russia and the West would unite efforts to assist the Ukrainian people, which would be possible if the West halts its dangerous Cold War rhetoric on the state level as well as through media which is creating the image of Russia as the enemy.

The escalation of tensions and the rise of mistrust between the camps won’t allow them to overcome the crisis. Kiev’s leaders, with the help of numerous foreign advisors, should help Kiev’s mostly incompetent leaders to start constructive dialogue with the East of Ukraine, with their own people, who are in strong opposition. At the same time, Russia should use its power and influence on the southeast of Ukraine, which has not been used, to push them towards effective dialogue, under its guarantees and with Russian participation in the mediation process.

Such a development of the situation would help to keep Ukraine united. However, the major problem of Western Ukraine is its dependence from the east, which is rich in natural resources. So these questions should be on the table.

An improvement of relations between Russia and the West, as well as a decline in Cold War rhetoric would still jar with the persistent escalation of Ukraine’s internal crisis. Here, OSCE observers would be the key player in the conflict as the only instrument to settle it.

In the case of violence escalating, peace enforcement international operations remain. In this scenario, Ukraine is likely to stay united with the help of international efforts, but as in the previous scenario, federalization remains to be the preferable outcome.

If international tensions remain rough or escalate and the internal conflict in Ukraine persistently intensifies, the crisis will crumble to a state of a civil war and at the same time the Ukrainian people will become hostages of the global powers’ geopolitical game. This double conflict will be a zero sum game for all parties - on both global and internal levels. On the internal level, the fragmentation of the country would be practically inevitable, or even if Kiev succeeds by force to trample the rebellion movement of eastern Ukraine (that would be far from democracy and humanitarian values).

On the global level, taking into account the economic, political and other interdependencies conditioned by the globalized nature of the modern international community, the persistent escalation of the conflict will bring to huge losses both in the West and Russia. Such an evolution of the situation is extremely dangerous for global stability and the international climate.

Imagine international tensions between the West and Russia remain prickly, but Kiev does jump start national dialogue, stops military operations in East Ukraine as well as end its rhetoric of calling the citizens of its own country terrorists. This scenario is based on political professionalism being an ongoing processes; the ability to negotiate and concede as well as to stick to promises.

The U.S., EU and Russia have still opportunity to settle the conflict peacefully putting aside national interests, mutual distrust and the will to dominate

Maria Dubovikova

In this case Russia would be a diplomatic loser in the conflict. This scenario could be the most favorable for the West, but for the current moment it’s the less probable after Kiev’s hysterics, intolerance and ignorance of the Eastern Ukrainian population, seen in the Odessa and Mariupol tragedies. East Ukraine will hardly get involved in any negotiations with Kiev with no participation of Russia and its guarantees.

The huge problem is that current situation is moving in the direction of the Scenario 3. The major powers are sticking to their stances on the conflict and they perceive it through their national interest prism.

Before the situation will completely crumble, the international community, the U.S., EU and Russia have still opportunity to settle the conflict peacefully putting aside national interests, mutual distrust and the will to dominate. They must think primarily about the people suffering from their egoist ambitions.


Maria Dubovikova is a co-founder of IMESClub (International Middle Eastern Studies Club), IMESClub Executive Director and member of the Club Council, author of several scientific articles and participant of several high level international conferences. She is a permanent member of the Think-tank under the American University in Moscow. Alumni of MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia) (honors diploma), she had been working for three months as a trainee at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) in Paris. Now she is a PhD Candidate at MGIMO (Department of International Relations and Foreign Policy of Russia). Her research field is Russian foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, the policy of France and the US towards the Mediterranean, theory of international relations, humanitarian interventions and etc. Fluently speaks and writes in French and English. She can be followed on Twitter: @politblogme

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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