Ukraine crisis Current Affairs - 2019
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In a strategic deal. Ukraine and the pro-Russian rebels have signed a deal which will let an area between the two territories completely disarmed and pull-out all fighters and weapons from there. There has been a ceasefire between the two sides in the Minsk agreement. The outcome which will be quite significant to ensure peace in the region was again reached at Minsk.
The two sides have agreed to pull back heavy military equipment by 15 kms from the current point of contact. This will create a 30 kms buffer zone which will permit free moment of people in the area. The agreement also calls for withdrawal of all foreign armed groups, fighters and even mercenaries.
Igor Plotinitsky, the self-declared leader of Lugansk People’s Republic made positive overtures on the deal and expressed satisfaction on the formation of a zone of complete security. The recent progress has found praise with the Russian President but failed to garner much praise by the insurgents.
There has been marked progress in the efforts to reinstate peace in the recent 2 weeks ever since the ceasefire was brokered. The Kiev government also approved a legislation that gave offering self-rule to the two regions of Donetsk and Lugansk alongwith granting amnesty to rebels. These have created a conducive environment for the latest talks in which the buffer zone was agreed.
Another major event which can have far-reaching consequences for the conflict is the Petro Poroshenko meeting with President Obama at White House. This comes at a critical time and a lot will depend on the major outcomes of the same. The meeting will define extent of US support to Kiev along with the future of demand of Poroshenko to grant Ukraine non-member ally status in NATO. Poroshenko has also expressed concern over the insufficient weapons with Kiev to defend itself against any major attack and has asked US and allies for weaponary support as well.
Obama administration condemned Russia’s territorial exploits in Crimea and Ukraine but also declined for any arms support. US instead promised another monetary support package of $46 million as non-lethal aid.
However, sounds of shelling can still be heard in Donetsk nights and early mornings.
Russia has taken the latest round of sanctions which are so-far the strictest ever to be highly inappropriate and unfair. The Russian foreign ministry has taken a direct dig at Washington, blaming it of pursuing narrow geopolitical ambitions and thus trying to keep the crisis burning. Russia has voiced strong criticism against the EU step as it stated that the sanctions have come at a time when the Russia and Ukraine both wanted to reach an indefinite ceasefire and truce. The last week also saw comments by the Ukraine President that Russia is honouring the ceasefire which was evident as the Russian troops receded from the Ukrainian territory.
EU had been watching the events very closely and had sealed the sanctions when President Putin openly praised the rebels in Ukrainian territory for their resistance and fighting potential. This had invited international criticism for the Russian regime and stand and condemnations poured in from all sides alike.
The crisis which had been triggered by the Russian occupation of Crimea has taken dangerous scale as it had blown out of proportion. The recent escalations by the Russians by sending heavy troops across the Ukraine border were a cause of great concern for the EU and NATO alike. The NATO summit at Wales had called for its member nations to scale up its defence budget and also guard against their eastern borders. The NATO members had harboured fears of a possible invasion by Russia if the Ukraine crisis took form of a war.
Russia’s foreign ministry issued a statement Friday responding to the latest sanctions, which it called “the latest hostile step on the confrontational course of the American administration.” The ministry claimed Washington “is focusing on an escalation of the Ukrainian conflict” rather than a peaceful resolution. “We are not going to act in order to please the United States’ geopolitical ambitions and the calculations of those overseas politicians who are trying to use a ‘manageable Ukraine’ to restrain Russia,” the ministry said.