Quite separately, Moscow would need to complement its decision to facilitate the path to Russian citizenship for Donbas residents and other Ukrainians with a program to help with those individuals' resettlement in Russia and integration into Russian society and its economy. Russia does not need more land, but it certainly needs more people. To put a fine point on it, it needs more Russian citizens inside Russia, not outside of it. Of course, this program should also apply to people in other parts of the former Soviet Union, such as Moldova/Transnistria.
These steps would benefit Russia demographically and create a better atmosphere in at least some European countries. The full implementation of the Minsk agreement will depend on developments inside the Ukrainian body politic and on the attitude taken by Washington. For the moment, President Donald Trump, who is facing impeachment proceedings in the U.S. Congress, is verbally supportive of Ukrainian and Russian efforts to resolve the conflict. There should be no illusions about either of these factors, but Russia showing bona fide readiness to fully implement its part of the Minsk deal will help Russian interests in Europe.
Moscow would also do well to abstain from overreacting to moves by NATO. The alliance's continuing enlargement in the Balkans — Albania, Montenegro, and soon North Macedonia — is hardly a threat to Russian security. Much of what NATO does elsewhere, such as in the Baltic region, is essentially about reassuring jittery allies, thereby shoring up its own credibility. These steps should not be ignored by any means, but they should be assessed for what they are actually worth, without exaggerating their importance. When it comes to actual increasing threat levels for Russia — for example, as a result of INF deployments in Europe — it is U.S. territory and its assets, rather than NATO Europe, that should be the target of Russian countermoves to restore strategic stability.