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Flames fanned in Ukraine crisis as rebel leaders take contested positions

A series of elections in the eastern provinces of Ukraine still partial to Russia's government, led to the placement of new leaders in early November, although the main government in Kiev has denounced the results as a farce. The government in Kiev, where anti-Russian sentiment is strong thanks to a complicated, long and difficult history of relations between the nations, have said that the appointments violate a peace agreement between the two sides, according to Reuters. Violence is a real possibility in the area. Thousands were killed in conflicts between various factions after the revolution from earlier this year, before the institution of the peace agreement that had been mostly successful.

Renewed conflicts in Ukraine carry the potential for violence and an unsafe business environment

Potential for renewed conflict
Now that the Ukrainian government is contending that the pro-Russian separatists have violated that agreement, there's the possibility of renewed violence. Reuters said that the conditions are currently sufficient to create what's referred to as a "frozen conflict." This is a situation that has appeared in other countries that were formerly under the rule of Russia or the Soviet Union. Russian troops are dispatched to protect breakaway areas in these countries that have tried to or successfully seceded from pro-independence governments in an attempt to return to Russian rule. With the potential for border clashes with Ukrainian rebels, President Petro Poroshenko is sending out troops to protect major cities and parts of the country on the border of the pro- and anti-Russian territory, the BBC reported.

The alleged violations of the peace agreement were enough for Poroshenko to propose that certain elements of the peace treaty be nullified, specifically the provisions giving special status to the rebel-held provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk. The revocation of those elements would set the stage for increased conflicts and greater turmoil on both sides. The pro-Russian areas of the country have alleged various violations of the agreement by Ukrainian forces, an allegation that has been backed up by reports from multiple news agencies and media organizations.

Problems for visitors
Corporate travel to the area will obviously be affected by the aftermath of the elections, especially as it relates to the peace process. While Ukraine has been a relatively unstable country for months, the area contains a great amount of natural resources as well as other business assets. Although a frozen conflict would theoretically allow travel to most areas, it would require intense monitoring on the part of businesses.


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