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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ukraine: situation remains tense despite the ceasefire and negotiations in Eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers participating in an anti-terrorist operation in
Eastern Ukraine
(Image: Kyiv Post)
Situation in Eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where an anti-terrorist operation is ongoing, remains extremely tense despite the temporary ceasefire and the peaceful plan proposed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Massive anti-terrorist operation launched by Ukrainian National Guard, Armed Forces and security services in Eastern Ukraine demonstrated significant success as hundreds of pro-Russian and Russian terrorists were killed and injured during an operation and many cities freed from the terrorists and separatists. Though the critical situation on the borders with Russia prevented Ukrainian side from the fast and successful finishing of an anti-terrorist operation, as Russian side continues to back and finance terrorists, sending new mercenaries and weapons through the poorly controlled border.


Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in his turn ordered taken extensive and urgent measures in order to restore control over the border and to close it. Ukrainian authorities reported later about closure of the border, but the terrorists still continue to infiltrate Ukrainian territory, attacking the border checkpoints.

In addition to that Petro Poroshenko had presented earlier his peaceful plan of resolving the crisis in Eastern Ukraine and restoring peace and security there. The plan grants safe corridors for the civilians willing to leave the anti-terrorist operation zone and calls on the militants to give up arms and leave Ukrainian territory. Amnesty was granted also to those who didn’t commit serious crimes. This plan includes also series of talks and negotiations with the representatives of the tense regions and with Russian side as well, as the talks should be monitored by the Western officials.

The plan was welcomed by the Western leaders and by Russian Putin as well. A week-ling cease-fires was declared by Mr. Poroshenko earlier this week, as this term was given to the terrorists to give up arms. A roundtable between Ukrainian side and representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics, designated by Ukrainian authorities as terrorist groups, was held on Tuesday in Donetsk. The talks were attended by Ukrainian former President Leonid Kuchma, representing Ukrainian official side, and odious figures of Ukrainian politics Oleg Tsarev, who actively supports and backs terrorists in Eastern Ukraine and was declared wanted by Ukrainian authorities, and Viktor Medvedchuk, well known Ukrainophobe, lobbying Putin’s interests in Ukraine. The talks were monitored by OSCE representative. These talks though didn’t have any results, as they turned into farce from the very beginning, attended by such odious and anti-Ukrainian figures, demanding accepting of the terrorists’ interests and demands and calling to stop anti-terrorist operation.

Meanwhile, pro-Russian and Russian terrorists continue attacking positions of Ukrainian soldiers and ATO forces, violating the recently declared ceasefire. According to the spokesperson of the ATO, terrorists have violated the ceasefire for at least 40 times since it was declared, causing losses on Ukrainian side. Ukrainian military helicopter carrying supplies to the ATO zone was hit by the Russian terrorists on Tuesday, right on the days of the so called “negotiations”, leaving 9 soldiers killed.

Putin in his turn has made an unexpected move addressing Council of Federation (a body of Russian Parliament) to revoke its decree regarding the possibility of use of the Russian military forces in Ukraine. This decree was issued and supported by the Council of Federation at the beginning of Crimea invasion. Council of federation has supported the decision to revoke using of Russian military forces in Ukraine during its session on Wednesday, 25 June, and it was welcomed by the Western side and by Ukrainian officials as well. Petro Poroshenko declared earlier that he considers this step of Putin being a good sign and possibility to negotiate in the frameworks of the peaceful plan, though many activists, military analysts and participants of ATO claim that ceasefire was a huge mistake, as it will only give Russia and its militants time to regroup and to bring new weapons and forces in order to launch a new attack, what is actually happening now, as the terrorists receive new weapons and continue attacking Ukrainian soldiers. As for the decision of Putin to revoke decree regarding use of military in Ukraine, it shouldn’t be considered being a serious and important step, as Putin’s words usually don’t correspond to his actions. In addition to that there is anyway no need for Russia to invade Ukraine with its official regular military forces, as Russia is not capable of it at the current stage and is under the threat of the serious Western sanctions. Russian side is represented in Eastern Ukraine by the paid mercenaries, so, there is no need to send troops, and revoking of the decision to use army is actually senseless.

But this step of Putin had its positive impact on the Russian situation, as USA and EU, who have being prepared a third wave of the joint economic and political sanctions against Russia and were ready to impose them, declared that these sanctions could be delayed due to some positive steps made by Russia and hope for the peaceful and diplomatic solution.


The situation though still remains extremely tense and dangerous, as even despite the new negotiations to be held on Wednesday, 25 June, and attended by Ukrainian and Russian sides and also by the representatives of EU, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who warned Russia recently with the serious sanctions if the situation won’t be deescalated, and French President Francois Hollande, the terrorists continue to violate the ceasefire and attacking Ukrainian positions. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko who still hopes for the peaceful resolving of the crisis and continuation of the talks declared on Wednesday that the ceasefire would be probably cancelled in the nearest future due to the situation in the region and numerous attacks of the terrorists.