Were Ukraine a functioning democracy, Friday’s agreement under EU mediation would be significant. But in today’s Ukraine, there is a world of difference between agreements and their implementation, writes James Sherr.
"It will not turn into a civil war because those who are supporting the government are not prepared to risk their lives," said Orysia Lutsevych. "Ukraine will not split because there are not significant numbers of Ukrainians who are supporting the use of violence against civilians."
With smart sanctions, targeting financial assets and judicious visa bans, including on members of the Yanukovych family, the West could help to break the status quo in Ukraine, writes Orysia Lutsevych.
'[The Yanukovich government] have put their placemen into the army,' said James Sherr. 'But still the question is what proportion of units would obey such orders?
'The UK would like to lead the shale gas revolution in Europe,' said Paul Stevens. 'But, if the UK can’t get this going, partly because of the environmental opposition, then that means Europe is even less likely to see result.'
If the EU now fails to respond in an effective and decisive manner, its international credibility and soft power will take a further hit, writes Orysia Lutsevych.