Worthless ceasefire in eastern Ukraine?
A new ceasefire began on Monday for eastern Ukraine, but according to Kiev it was broken by the separatists on the very first day. Prior to the move Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin had talked on the phone and both declared their support for the Minsk agreements and the Normandy process. Observers, however, do not have much faith in their words.
Putin is stringing Zelensky along
Putin has no real interest in moving closer to resolving the conflict, writes Echo of Moscow:
“It remains completely unclear what the constructiveness and businesslike nature of the conversation between Zelensky and Putin was that [Kremlin spokesman] Peskov talked of. Did Zelensky lack the courage and common sense to ask Putin directly: Will you guarantee a ceasefire? And if Zelensky knew that the only possible answer was 'No', what were the two heads of state talking about then? Putin is sticking with his fighters. ... And with his position, which is: 'You want peace? Then recognise the fighters as those in charge, organise elections under the barrels of Russian rifles and bring the fighters into the Ukrainian parliament.”
Without controls the agreement is worth nothing
This is an agreement on Moscow's terms, explains analyst Iulian Chifu in Adevărul:
“You will probably say that a ceasefire is a good thing. And it is - if it is verifiable and the rules of the game are respected. But Russia has been putting pressure on the international community for several months and has banned OSCE observers from entering the occupied Donbass region, which is controlled by the so-called 'separatists', who are in fact Russian troops and imported Russian citizens leading the Russian paramilitary forces. ... Neither the authorities in Kiev nor the drones offered by the international partners are being allowed to monitor the implementation of the current agreements which provide for the withdrawal of heavy weapons and their storage a sufficient distance from the demarcation line.”
Both sides must make concessions
Večer says compromises from both sides will be necessary if the conflict is to be resolved permanently:
“With a heavy heart, Kiev must agree to give the Donbass a high degree of autonomy bordering on self-government. For it cannot bring the two regions with a population of almost seven million people back under its rule, either politically or militarily. In the end, the pro-Russian separatists will have no choice but to agree to this and try to get as much as possible out of it. Mother Russia has always let them know that she supports them, but at the same time has pointed out that they should not entertain any dreams of being annexed by the Russian Federation.”