Detente in Ukraine

RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 05 Jul 2019 by Alex Teddy

The past week has seen a reduction in tensions in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Government and the pro-Russian rebels have agreed to pull back from the front line near Stanytsia Lushanska. This is in the Donbass Region. Ukraine has previously agreed to such pullbacks in other areas but such deals quickly collapsed amid acrimony. It is different this time. The conflict has gone on for over five years and there is no end in sight. There is war weariness. So far NATO and EU countries are committed to backing Ukraine morally and financially. The pro-Russian insurgents have set free four Ukrainian soldiers. This has not happened for months. There has been less firing in most sectors. The Ukrainian Security Council Secretary publicly spoke about the need to win people in Donbass back by persuasion. This is sea change. Moscow considered the defeat of its bugbear Poroshenko a success. But the new Ukrainian President Zelensky did not appear to be much of an improvement. In the campaign Zelensky did not wish to be outflanked by Poroshenko on nationalist issues. Therefore Zelensky talked tough and in his inauguration vowed to regain every inch of soil. However, his actions belie this. Russia and the pro-Russian rebels are unsure how to react to Zelensky. They wanted to give him a chance to make concessions. But they have also denounced him as being wicked like his predecessor. They find it hard to figure him out because he is not outright bellicose as Poroshenko.

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