Two steps forward, two steps back in Eastern Europe: A spokesperson for Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko announced a cease-fire agreement Wednesday morning, before quickly backtracking on those claims. But not to worry — Russian leader Vladimir Putin has gallantly stepped in with a solution of his own.
Putin says he super-casually sketched out this plan for, erm … the “parties in the conflict,” all while on his way to Mongolia. Because diplomatic visits, war, and international outrage are no match for him:
1. End active offensive operations by armed forces and armed militia groups in southeast Ukraine in the Donetsk and Lugansk areas.
2. Withdraw Ukrainian armed forces units to a distance that would make it impossible to fire on populated areas using artillery and all types of multiple launch rocket systems.
3. Allow for full and objective international monitoring of compliance with the ceasefire and monitoring of the situation in the safe zone created by the ceasefire.
4. Exclude all use of military aircraft against civilians and populated areas in the conflict zone.
5. Organise the exchange of individuals detained by force on an ‘all for all’ basis without any preconditions.
6. Open humanitarian corridors for refugees and for delivering humanitarian cargoes to towns and populated areas in Donbass – Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
7. Make it possible for repair brigades to come to damaged settlements in the Donbass region in order to repair and rebuild social facilities and life-supporting infrastructure and help the region to prepare for the winter.
(And why the “parties in the conflict” and not a more direct reference? Well, because “Russia cannot physically agree on a cease-fire, as it is not a side in the conflict,” according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry S. Peskov.)
Ukrainian leaders seem to have picked up the same scent from Putin’s proposal, with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk calling his bluff:
The country’s leaders seem to be holding out for tomorrow’s NATO summit in Wales, where President Barack Obama and other leaders are expected to create a rapid-response force for Eastern Europe and mull over other solutions to the ongoing conflict. Putin, too, said he expects a solution by then. His country is already suffering side effects from the ongoing conflict, in which Russia has repeatedly denied involvement, including the suspended delivery of two French warships.
In other words, today in 140 characters or less: