While media attention focused on Iraq and Syria, the situation still has not improved in Ukraine. Financial markets worried about possible reprisals yet to be decided by the Russian government in response to the reinforcement of Western sanctions. Foreign assets in Russia could be frozen and various products, mainly from the European Union, should no longer cross the Russian border for an indefinite period.
The rapprochement between Ukraine and the EU accentuated the Russian discontent. Moscow sees more negatively than ever a possible accession to the EU by Ukraine, a process that Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk would like to accelerate. In eastern Ukraine, the situation is at a standstill and Russia is strengthening its military presence in “the zone of Crimea”. Meanwhile multinational military exercises are being conducted in Ukraine, this way increasing foreign military presence near the Russian border.
The purpose, according to Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, is to build a military district whose activities will be planned until 2020. Analysts said the situation in Crimea could have reached a point of no return that such a district project validated. The possibility of a larger military conflict remains real since, according to NATO, nearly a thousand Russian soldiers would be operating in eastern Ukraine and 20 to 25.000 others would be massed on the Russian side of the border.