Pro-Russian separatists appear to finally be taking the Ukraine ceasefire agreement seriously. This morning marks the first 24 hours without Ukrainian combat fatalities in weeks. Yesterday the Pro-Russian separatists stated that they are willing to comply with the ceasefire and brought reporters in to observe their withdrawal of heavy weapons in eastern Ukraine as required by the ceasefire agreement. The ceasefire was set to begin on February 15, but both Ukraine and the separatists continually failed to comply with its terms. Both sides blame each other for instigating the ongoing violence in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine has expressed concerns that the rebels may be claiming to comply with the ceasefire in order to support another advance against the Ukrainian military. Until yesterday violence in eastern Ukraine had not subsided, and shelling in Donetsk had intensified. In just the past week, Ukraine’s National Defense and Security Council reported 300 violations of the ceasefire.
Yesterday, European leaders from Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France met in Paris to discuss the implementation of the ceasefire and the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. One of the issues discussed was the need for access to provide humanitarian aid to areas impacted by the ongoing hostilities.