Those who follow events in eastern Ukraine will be familiar with reoccurring ceasefire agreements and like me usually give out a collective groan when a new ones announced. This because they never last long, in part due to Russia needing to promote propaganda against Ukraine and its army. Frontline silence is not conducive to pushing false claims of Ukraine’s forces having shelled something or targeted civilians etc. That said, new agreements usually bring a short period of calm, which is welcomed by the hundreds of thousands of people living along the frontline.
Jan 26th, at the Elysee Palace in Paris France, Ukraine and Russia, along with representatives from France and Germany negotiated a new ceasefire – this part of the ongoing, so-called Normandy format (peace) negotiations. The envoys are said to have agreed to “support unconditional respect for the cease-fire and full adherence to the cease-fire strengthening measures of July 22, 2020, regardless of differences on other issues relating to the implementation of the Minsk agreements.”
With the meeting reported as having lasted eight hours, the Kremlin’s envoy Dmitry Kozak said the talks were “not simple,” but there was one common ground. He said that “despite all the differences in interpretations, we agreed that the cease-fire (in eastern Ukraine) must be maintained by all the parties in line with the accords.” Ahead of the talks, Andriy Yermak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said that the meeting was a “strong signal of readiness for a peaceful settlement.” Media link to more on this.
So, despite the Kremlin’s belligerent rhetoric towards Ukraine and the threat of a renewed Russian invasion hanging in the air, we can but hope this ceasefire commitment brings some respite to eastern Ukraine.