“Peace” in Donbas

Russia and Ukraine say they have agreed a ceasefire, to be effective by year’s end, in eastern Ukraine, currently occupied by Russia (along with Crimea) and Russia-instigated and -backed “rebels.”  It’s an unsatisfactory ceasefire.

There is no agreement on a timetable for free elections in the occupied eastern oblasts, even assuming the dubious need at all for elections there separate from the regular national elections. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wants Russian troops out of those oblasts before the elections; Russia’s President Vladimir Putin insists merely that Ukraine should give those oblasts autonomy before the elections. Zelenskiy is right: elections have no possibility of being free with Russian troops occupying the region.  It’s an unsatisfactory ceasefire.

Zelenskiy had hoped for more from these…discussions…among Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany.

Many questions were tackled, and my counterparts have said it is a very good result for a first meeting. But I will be honest, it is very little; I wanted to resolve a larger number of problems[.]

Not only was Russian occupation of eastern Ukraine given short shrift, the subject of the Crimean Oblast didn’t even come up. I suspect that was one of the larger number of problems Zelenskiy wanted resolved. Unfortunately, Germany, though an actual signatory to the Budapest Memorandum, which guaranteed Ukrainian territorial integrity if it gave up its nuclear weapons after the dissolution of the USSR (which Ukraine did), long ago utterly betrayed Ukraine with its decision to walk away from that agreement. Merkel reinforced her government’s perfidy with her decision to ignore the fate of the Crimean Oblast in the just concluded talks.  Russia also is a signatory, but dishonesty and betrayal are the norm with that nation.  The Crimean Oblast will continue to be partitioned off and occupied by Russia.

It’s an unsatisfactory ceasefire.

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