Ukraine Crisis Over? Vladimir Putin Declares Ceasefire

Vladimir Putin came out of a 17-hour marathon peace talk and declared a ceasefire to the violence in Eastern Ukraine. The deal is being described as a breakthrough in the crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 5,400 people. Still, questions remain whether the terms will be acceptable to both Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and the pro-Russian rebels.

According to the BBC, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has declared “we have managed to agree on the main issues.”

The 17-hour peace talks had three main objectives: to secure a ceasefire, withdraw heavy weapons, and create a demilitarized zone in Eastern Ukraine. Petro Poroshenko, Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkal and French President Francois Hollande were all in attendance.

Hollande reaffirmed Putin’s sentiments, saying that they had reached a “serious deal.”

The AP reported some of the additional conditions.

Reportedly all parties, including Putin, pledged to restore all of Ukraine’s border with Russia, some of which is currently under the control of the separatists.

Likewise, both warring parties agreed to withdraw heavy weaponry by about 50 to 70 kilometers in the next two weeks, effectively creating a demilitarized zone, as part of the ceasefire.

Putin also said that the rebels believed they had Ukrainian forces surrounded and expected the military to surrender. Poroshenko disagreed with that assessment and Putin and the Ukrainian president agreed to clarify the situation.

The ceasefire will effectively start on Sunday.

The agreement also contains provisions to give Ukraine’s rebellious regions a special status, resolve border issues, and solve humanitarian problems stemming from the violence.

The ceasefire negotiation was a flash-point in the Ukrainian crisis and in Russia’s overall relationship with the West.

As Ukraine’s president Porshenko explained, “the entire world is waiting to see whether the situation moves toward de-escalation, weapons pullback, cease-fire or … spins out of control.”

Vladimir Putin’s place in the talks was particularly delicate. Russia still denies supplying the rebels with weapons and soldiers, despite strong evidence to the contrary.

Russia also faced pressure from the U.S. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the U.S. was preparing to send military aid to help Ukraine.

Experts on NPR warned that incoming military aid could be disastrous, causing Russia to escalate the conflict and bring in airpower to fight against the beleaguered Ukrainian military. It’s not clear whether the threat made any impression on Russia’s Putin.

It’s also not clear if the ceasefire will hold. Another ceasefire last year failed to produce any lasting results, but this one has the approval of Putin and Europe.

Most important for the Ukraine is that the ceasefire agreement saves lives. The war has already killed over 5,400 people and displaced over a million from their homes.

[Image Credit: Getty]