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Analysis | July 13, 2018

Trump on Russia: In His Own Words

From election interference and the war in Syria to praise for Putin and weaponized cold snaps, read over two years' worth of the president’s comments on Russia.
Analysis | July 07, 2018

Time for a Helsinki Communique

The Shanghai Communique of 1972 dispensed with worn-out platitudes about cooperation and laid out the disputes between the U.S. and China. Doing so gave it an air of credibility. So what would a U.S.-Russian Helsinki Communique look like?
Analysis | July 05, 2018

Ukraine’s ‘Creeping Advances’: A Win-Win Tactic?

Soon after the start of Russia’s official military involvement in Syria, another army, hundreds of miles away, ramped up its activity: Ukraine’s armed forces became emboldened in their war with separatists in the east. Under the radar, they have been retaking control of a narrow strip of contested, crime-ridden no-man’s land in the war-torn Donbas region using a tactic known as “creeping advances.” Between February and May, for example, they managed to advance about 6 miles deeper into the area, deploying small, highly professional units. The slow-paced advances, ongoing since February 2016, have enabled Ukraine to take firmer control over the porous demarcation line with its separatist republics, to improve its military’s tactical capabilities (and, possibly, its morale) and to test Russia’s response—which, so far, has been minimal. For now, Ukrainian troops have focused their efforts mostly on small villages. On one hand, some analysts suspect that attempts to take bigger, strategically important settlements could provoke a large-scale Russian military response; on the other, Russia may be reluctant to deepen its involvement in eastern Ukraine’s grinding war. The paradox seems to be that, whatever Russia’s response to the creeping advances, Ukraine’s leadership—struggling to retain legitimacy and the confidence of citizens and Western donors—stands to reap a net benefit from the tactic.