Image Courtesy of Sasha Maksymenko / flickr.com
Today, Ukrainian military forces began operations in eastern Ukraine, just hours after the expiration of President Poroshenko’s ten-day ceasefire. Violence has escalated sharply
, with heavy fire and airstrikes coming from the national military, directed toward the pro-Russian separatists. Parliamentary Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov today told chamber officials that the military efforts are “effective and yielding results.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the renewed violence, commenting
during an ambassadorial meeting, “All of us in Europe need a sort of safety net, so the … [Ukrainian precedent] will not turn into an infectious disease.”
Ukrainian forces and the separatist movement seem prepared for a potentially extended period of renewed conflict — if true, such protracted violence risks substantial civilian casualties, and could prove detrimental to future societal and political equanimity in Ukraine. Separatists confirmed yesterday that they would consider future negotiations
with the Ukrainian government under the condition that Poroshenko removed Ukrainian military forces from eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian President has clearly stated
that this is not a compromise he is willing to consider.
The prospect of successful negotiations seems bleak at this time, given the ultimatums issued by pro-Russian separatists and Poroshenko’s unwillingness to acquiesce. Nevertheless, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France have planned to meet today in Berlin
in order to kickstart a final round of negotiations.
The western world is widely critical of Russia’s role in the conflict, believing on the whole that Russia has not exerted enough active effort in convincing pro-Russian separatists to lay down arms, or halt weapons flow across the Russian-Ukrainian border. The U.S. and its allies are prepared to issue a new round of sanctions
against Russia if its actions escalate the renewed violence in Ukraine’s east.