Despite a cease-fire and the consent to withdraw heavy weaponry from a buffer zone along the front-line in Eastern Ukraine nine Ukrainian service men were killed near the Donetsk airport. According to CNN they were killed by tank fire, while some other media does not explicitly mention that, the city council of Donetsk is said to have reported fire from heavy weapons. Additionally two civilians were killed in Monday’s clashes.
While ongoing fighting increases doubts on the peace plan, also actions on the “home fronts” are likely to increase tensions and alienation between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian parts of the people in Ukraine.
Last night anti-Russian protesters destroyed the country’s biggest Lenin statue in Kharkiv in Eastern Ukraine. Although the city’s mayor promised to re-erect the statue, this rather symbolic act is most likely not helping to de-escalate the tense situation. In fact it is considered as welcome incident for (pro)-Russian media coverage. Additionally to that Russia announced today to initiate criminal investigations suspecting that a genocide on the Russian speaking persons in Ukraine took place. While according to UN-reports human right violations were committed by both sides during the fights in Eastern Ukraine, giving the chance for a neutral investigation could have a greater acceptance. Many believe that Russia’s aim is to further alienate Russian speaking persons in Eastern Ukraine from the rest of the country resp. the central government in Kiev.