Peace Deal Reached in Ukrainian Conflict
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European leaders were finally able to come to a consensus after marathon peace talks in regard to the Ukrainian conflict came to an end last night.
The war has claimed over 5,000 lives since it began a mere ten months ago, and since the conflict began the world has been scrambling to find a way to cease the Russian fueled aggression from the countries rebels. World leaders believe that although the deal isn’t perfect, it will still save lives and pave the way for a more permanent solution that will hopefully reinforce the security situation in eastern Ukraine.
Angela Merkel is seen by many to be leading the charge towards peace for the European countries and Ukraine. After a series of failed peace deals, the German chancellor was still determined, and was responsible for scheduling the overnight meetings that have led to the temporary ceasefire. Many European leaders are still searching for a way to end the conflict while also holding intact the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
The details of the treaty can be interpreted in different ways, but basically the agreement calls for a mutual ceasefire between pro Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists. The deal also calls to create a 31 mile buffer between each side’s heavy artillery pieces, the same artillery responsible for the majority of civilian casualties in the war.
According to the new deal, both sides will withdrawal all of their troops from the frontlines by September 19. The new deal goes into effect Sunday and is supposed to officially become effective within 24 hours of Sunday, February 15. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will oversee whether the peace deal is honored or not.
The new agreement calls for the release of all POW’s, the immediate annexation of the border zone by Ukrainian troops, and the removal of all foreign fighters/foreign military equipment that are fueling the conflict. It seems that Putin isn’t prepared to pull his unmarked troops out of Ukraine so it will be interesting to see if Putin will truly honor the entire agreement, or if the world will appease Putin by not holding him to every statute in the deal.
A strategy to appease Putin wouldn’t be surprising based on the desperation displayed by European leaders to end the conflict at any cost before the frontline becomes Kiev.
In a way, the rebels are being given some surprising special privileges (at least more than they previously had.) According to the deal, new “special autonomy” will be granted to the Donetsk, and Luhansk regions from the Ukrainian government, and amnesty will be granted to all rebel fighters. This will create a new autonomous region in eastern Ukraine that will most likely become a Russian puppet. The gains actually made seem slight, considering the European union has done little to degrade Putin’s influence over the region.
This peace deal doesn’t necessarily end the war anyway, it rather freezes the conflict, leaving the country in a stagnant state of war. Without an official treaty that ends the war unconditionally it seems that normal life can never resume in eastern Ukraine. In fact life is so unstable that it seems the two lifestyle choices of eastern Ukraine either involve hiding, or fighting.
With most of the casualties being civilians, the world is in overdrive, struggling to negotiate a treaty with one of the most stubborn countries on earth. An end to the war in Ukraine would be the end of thousands of suffering civilians, and also the beginning to rebuilding the West’s strained relations with Russia. The world is well aware that every day, more and more resentment is building towards the west by Russian supporters, most of whom believe that they are victims of western imperialism (a common point-of-view from the 1960’s).
The situation In Ukraine is extremely difficult to assess, but it seems the overall belief from Western leaders is that Putin must be appeased before the conflict spreads. Meanwhile the United States has its eyes firmly set “watching the ball” in the Middle East. With America preoccupied with a different conflict, it will make it even more tempting for the Russians to be even more aggressive in their negotiations with the EU.
Along with a ceasefire the deal also grants 17.5 billion dollars in money for rebuilding the Ukrainian infrastructure, and for paying Government pensions. The move will allow things like electricity, water, and food to be returned to the parts of the country hardest hit by the conflict. It is imperative to rebuild relations with Ukraine through rebuilding projects, and to conflict the current ideology through rebuilding rather than conflict.
Clearly the current mentality in eastern Ukraine for civilians, is that their way of life and home is under attack by foreign invaders. Most young men feel a requirement to fight in the east, out of fear, or vengeance over fallen friends/family. If the west can supply people with food, water, shelter, education and rebuild their homes, then hopefully the first step towards cooperation and understanding will be taken between the two war-torn factions.