Minsk II – farce or chance?

In a few hours the ceasefire that has been agreed in Minsk on Wednesday/Thursday should come in force, Ukrainian army and separatist troops should stop fighting by then. This would be what European politicians call a glimpse of hope towards a real truce in Ukraines war battered east.

If Minsk II will really be a major breakthrough seems almost as uncertain as winning in the lottery. Many observers, analysts and Ukrainians doubt that the ceasefire will hold and  implemented at all. Also statements from both conflict sides can lead to rather negative conclusions regarding a ceasefire. In fact the latest agreement in Minsk is considered by some representatives from both sides as treason or weakness.

More important than words are deeds and currently latter seem to confirm skepticism on the feasibility of a new ceasefire. Fighting in the conflict zone has actually intensified along the whole front line with a rising number of casualties. Both sides seem to create precedents before the ceasefire should start and everything seems to point toward a further escalation which makes it hard to believe that fighting would suddenly stop at midnight. Additionally, according to sources cited by Western media Russia is allegedly delivering more heavy equipment to the separatists.

What will be after midnight can not be foretold for sure, but it currently seems that the odds are against a ceasefire thus preventing truce and ultimately prolonging the suffering of the remaining civilians in the conflict zone.

One dangerous consequence of a failing of Minsk II would be that diplomacy as a way to solve the conflict would suffer a severe setback, rising the conflict in Ukraine once again to a whole new level that becomes a growing security risk for Europe. Diplomacy would be considered by many as useless and the result would most likely be the delivery of weapons to Ukraine with partly unpredictable consequences.

As the Ukrainian army seems to be pushed back, a continuation of the fighting would spread to other areas and threaten an even greater number of civilians. Shelling of residential areas as in Lugansk (see video below) would occur more often with the tragic consequences. The next days will probably show in which direction it is going.

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