Tensions are tight in Ukraine as both sides of the conflict, the Ukraine and the Russian separatists, pull their heavy weaponry from the front lines as part of the most recent peace agreement and plan to have a 50 kilometer buffer-zone in between the two forces free of heavy weapons. While both sides have steadily been pulling troops and artillery from the buffer-zone both sides seem weary of the agreement, both stating that while they have pulled most of their heavy weapons they are not far from the area in case the other decides to make a move. Although some firing has been heard from the area and despite the Ukraine and Russia arguing over natural gas supply the agreement seems to be holding up.
Gas can be a powerful weapon when utilized properly, a warning has emerged from Russia's energy minister, Alexander Novak, stating that the Russian energy giant, Gazprom, might soon cut its natural gas supply from neighboring countries, including Ukraine. This is not the first tome that Gazprom or Russia for that matter has cut the Ukraine off from gas, the European Union is currently investigating Gazprom for using their dominant position to manipulate prices and obstruct the flow of gas across the continent. A meeting is to occur between the European Union, Russia, and the Ukraine on Monday to discuss this gas issue but until then Ukraine may be forced to either rely on their own reserves or receive some aide from Europe.
Many Europeans have kept their eyes on the situation in Ukraine for the better part of a year now unsure of what will happen next. The group OSCE has an agenda to monitor Ukraine to ensure that both sides keep to their agreements, however it has been a slow process. As of now there are 451 monitors in Ukraine, the bulk of which are placed in Donetsk and Luhansk. OSCE claims this is not enough and plans to invest in drones and other technological resources to help monitor the area in hopes to finally settle tensions between Ukraine and the Russian Separatists.
William A. Bullard
February 28th 2015