Testy peace: A reset in Ukraine

Testy peace: A reset in Ukraine

A fresh attempt to bring peace to eastern Ukraine begins on Monday. Over the weekend Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine

Photo: Reuters/Maks Levin

Photo: Reuters/Maks Levin

A fresh attempt to bring peace to eastern Ukraine begins on Monday.

Over the weekend Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine agreed to reinvigorate the Minsk peace accords, which call for the withdrawal of heavy weapons and reforms to Ukraine’s constitution to give eastern provinces more autonomy. Signed in 2015, the deal was originally met with some success but has failed to prevent the intensification of fighting over the past month.

But even before Monday’s implementation, the renewed push for peace was on shaky ground. Just minutes before Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the deal on Saturday his Ukrainian counterpart told the press he was “not at all” pleased with the outcome. Such public discord does not bode well for the implementation of the Minsk agreement.

Ukraine’s unhappiness with the status quo stems from the fact that, despite international condemnation, Russia has been able to annex and hold onto Crimea. Meanwhile, last week Vladimir Putin signed an executive order recognising the documentation issued by militias in eastern Ukraine – a first step on the way to recognising the breakaway regions.

With Moscow and Kiev so far apart on key issues, and as the United States and Western Europe focussed on matters closer to home, it is unlikely that Monday’s peace will last the distance.