In this chapter we begin with a general analysis of mutual perceptions from both sides, then
proceed to identify key interests and concerns regarding the war in Donbas, and analyze whether
the political aspects of the Minsk agreements can be implemented. We then suggest some
recommendations on the way ahead.
We argue that Putin’s success in attacking Ukraine, which is impossible to achieve without
undermining unity among Western powers, could embolden him to exert his power and influence
in wider Europe. Moreover, as U.S.-EU ties are likely to undergo some stress after elections on
each side of the Atlantic in 2016 and 2017, Russia will to be tempted to take advantage of such
turbulence by pressing forward with its goals in Ukraine and pushing the so-called “grey zone” of
insecurity westward before a new equilibrium is found within the Euro-Atlantic area.