Monday, 16 February 2015

E. Ukraine Leaders Order Ceasefire, Voice Amendments to Constitution

The eastern Ukrainian militias have stopped all military action in accordance with the Minsk peace deal. They will suppress any provocations that may be organized by Kiev forces, said Aleksandr Zakharchenko, head of Donetsk People’s Republic.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has ordered troops to cease fire at Sunday midnight local time (22:00 GMT) in line with the Thursday Minsk agreement. Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on his Facebook page that “all National Guard and Interior Ministry units will halt fire at midnight.”

Meanwhile, Defense Ministry spokesman of Donetsk People’s Republic, Eduard Basurin, has ordered that all eastern Ukrainian militia units halt fighting “on the entire line of contact,” RIA Novosti reports. A similar statement has come out of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic, saying that local militia are to stop all combat actions at midnight.

RT’s correspondent Murad Gazdiev reported from Donetsk that it felt “eerily calm” after the intense shelling gradually ceased after midnight.

Earlier, leaders of the restive Ukrainian republics said their regions have ratified the peace deal. The militias will stop all military action outside the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Zakharchenko said. However, he said that the self-defense forces will reply to any provocative actions by the Kiev troops, including assaults and precision fire.

The DPR leader also said that rebels won’t release a large group of Ukrainian troops, who have been entrapped near the village of Debaltsevo since early February.

“Their every attempt to break out will be suppressed,”Zakharchenko is cited by RIA-Novosti news agency.

The rebels’ leader reminded that “there wasn’t a word mentioning Debaltsevo in the agreements” signed in Minsk on February 12, which means that “Ukraine simply betrayed the 5,000 people trapped in the Debaltsevo ‘cauldron’.”

Kiev will never accept the terms offered by the rebels and they will break the ceasefire as they have previous ones.

If well provisioned (in terms of fighters, equipment and logistics) the rebels should continue to fight until they have largely destroyed the opposition forces. With the Kiev army still intact, the breakaway regions will be under continued threat of artillery fire and outright invasion. Hopefully, given time, the fascists in Kiev will be brought down as the Ukrainian economy collapses which should put an end to the fighting. If the fascists remain in charge and continue to attack then a strong military response from the separtists will be needed.

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, February 16th, 2015.]

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