It is not peace for Ukraine, but a two-piece Ukraine henceforth. The “ceasefire” accord agreed by the Normandy 4 has commenced as of 15 February 2015 midnight. As expected, there was a flurry of gunfire exchanges during the period leading to the ceasefire deadline. Each side wants to inflict more casualties and regain more ground before ceasefire takes effect (if it does). That period allowed a last-minute vengeance of fire by both sides, resulting in several more deaths. With the deadline now past, will the ceasefire hold? Or is this just an interim reprieve for both sides to re-arm for a greater conflict?
The Guardian is apprehensive of a successful and sustained ceasefire as reflected in its report:
Neither side seems to expect an end to the conflict, and both were trying to shore up their positions before the deadline.
Fighting between government and rebel forces in eastern Ukraine trailed off in the first hours after a midnight ceasefire began – but steady shelling resumed later in the morning near the besieged city of Debaltseve.
Kiev and the breakaway republics in the east said fighting had quietened and the ceasefire was mostly being observed.
But the Guardian heard mortar fire to the east of Luhanske on the highway to Debaltseve, where up to 8,000 Ukrainian troops have been under rebel attack for weeks. ….
Soldiers at the last checkpoint in Luhanske said the guns had gone quiet after the midnight ceasefire, but shelling of Ukrainian positions in the area had resumed around 6am – a report confirmed by the press service of Kiev’s “anti-terrorist operation”.
“There’s no ceasefire here,” said a Ukrainian soldier who would give only his first name, Andrei.
The Germans and French, having been instrumental in the deal, were quick to make a joint statement with a positive note but shrouded under a veil of uncertainty. A success story is critical for their credibility and statesmanship. According to RT News under the headlines: “‘Observed in general’: France, Germany, Kiev & rebels agree truce holding“,
A ceasefire that came into force midnight in eastern Ukraine is being observed in general, France and Germany declared in a joint statement. Donetsk officials say they will withdraw heavy weapons in accord with the timeline set by the Minsk deal.
The ceasefire in eastern Ukraine was being generally observed despite local incidents, which were quickly resolved, said France and Germany’s joint statement, issued by the Elysees Palace on Sunday. The statement was published after President Francois Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel held a telephone conversation with President Vladimir Putin and President Petro Poroshenko.
It is clear that the ceasefire is not totally upheld, and probably never will. The consolation is that there is some resemblance of peace compared to the carnage that was inflicted prior to the accord. It is only hours after the ceasefire. Only time will tell if the situation will improve or head for more troubles.
The Ukrainian conflict has never been a war of the Ukrainians. It is a proxy war between USA and Russia. Germany and France (and NATO) are just reluctant accomplices inadvertently caught in the cross-fire. The frantic efforts by France and Germany are understandable as they are major losers in the war. USA, the primary instigator suffers no direct damage. With this in mind, the outlook for a lasting Ukrainian peace is bleak. The problem is not with the Ukrainians. The real issue is will USA stand-down and/or Russians scale up?
By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.