Latvian expert: Baltic example gives hope for solving conflict in Ukraine

The Baltic Times, 24 April 2017

RIGA – The example of the Baltic states, which eventually regained their independence, gives hope that it is worth solving the conflict in Ukraine and keeping to the principles instead of looking at everything from the perspective of the power and geopolitical circumstances, said Andis Kudors, Executive Director of the Latvian think tank called the Centre for East European Policy Studies (CEEPS).

He believes that the attitude of the West to the Russian annexation of Crimea most probably will be similar to that in the case of the occupation of the Baltic states after 1940 when the Western countries refused to recognize the occupation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

“This is about the international law and, however hard it may be to keep to it, nothing better has been invented so far. The efforts to remind the international community about Russia’s annexation of Crimea must continue,” Kudors said.

The expert said he did not see a quick solution for returning Crimea to Ukraine and, even if the focus of the international community was solely in Ukraine, the situation in eastern Ukraine and Crimea could not be solved at once.

“The existing sanctions are important, of course, but the West is not ready for strong enough sanctions that would extend to the SWIFT system used by banks, for example,” Kudors said. The UN Security Council where Russia has a veto right also cannot produce any results, he added.

The conflict in Ukraine could be solved if political changes took place in Russia but Kudors would not make any guess as to if and when this could happen.

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