Last week, Vladimir Putin shook hands with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who agreed to withdraw Turkish troops from Syria, clearing the way for Syrian government forces and Russian military police to occupy most of the territory now purged of Kurdish militias. Russian foreign policy, it seems, has gotten the better of everyone, once again.
This development came hot on the heels of news that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky now endorses the so-called Steinmeier Formula in the Donbas, which Moscow has advocated for years over objections from Kyiv — another apparent victory for the Kremlin. Western sanctions against Russia have clearly failed to weaken Moscow’s foreign policy, and U.S. President Donald Trump is even hinting that Russia might be invited to return to a reconstituted G8. At Meduza’s request, Russian International Affairs Council director general Andrey Kortunov reviews the factors that have facilitated Moscow’s recent international successes, and the foreign-policy obstacles that persist.