Ceasefire in Donbass

A ceasefire between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian separatists has been in effect since Thursday night. Kiev has agreed to silence its weapons, and word has it that Moscow also supports the initiative. Germany's Foreign Minister Steinmeier has pulled off a major coup with this truce, some commentators write. Others say the ceasefire won't last a week.

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Die Tageszeitung taz (DE) /

Steinmeier brings opponents to negotiating table

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has pulled off a real coup with the ceasefire agreement, the daily taz writes in praise:

“This is after all the only military conflict in Europe: one that has lasted more than two years and has already cost 10,000 lives. It is also good that the agreement was reached in Kiev and not in Minsk, which after two non-implemented peace deals is now considered a dead end as far as eastern Ukraine is concerned. Another commendable aspect is that the ceasefire is also supported by Moscow - even if the Russian president's name has not been mentioned in connection with the deal. ... And even more spectacular is that Steinmeier and his French counterpart made a visit to the eastern Ukrainian cities directly behind the front line.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Ceasefire won't last a week

Peace is still a long way off despite the agreement on a new ceasefire in Donbass, Der Standard warns:

“Every new truce has been followed by violations, fresh skirmishes and mutual accusations. So even German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was wrong when he compared the peace process with a 'lame snail'. Because as Galileo would say about the snail: 'And yet it moves', albeit very slowly. ... As in the past, the positions of the two sides remain irreconcilable. The idea of taking advantage of any and every opportunity to change the status quo militarily is still engraved in their minds. The political demands stipulated in Minsk II have not been implemented by any stretch of the imagination. ... Without political progress, even the new ceasefire hardly stands a chance of lasting the announced seven days.”