I’ve written before about Russia’s impressive feat of launching what appeared to the rest of the world to be an invasion of Ukraine without ever acknowledging that it was doing anything of the sort. So it’s not exactly surprising that the cease-fire declared in this war a few weeks ago doesn’t appear to have ceased any firing.
But what exactly is being protected here? Ukraine’s representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe says the agreement has been violated more than 2,400 times by militant groups since a truce was signed in Minsk on Sept. 5. And that’s not even counting shots that the Ukrainian military, currently besieging the rebel capital of Donetsk, has fired. The two sides repeatedly trade accusations over which one is primarily responsible for violations of the truce.
Recent days have seen some of the heaviest fighting in months around Donetsk, where the rebels held elections in defiance of the Ukrainian government and its Western backers at the beginning of this month.
Meanwhile, NATO says Russian troops and weapons, including tanks, artillery, and air defense systems, are once again moving into eastern Ukraine.
The intensity of violence in the conflict seems to wax and wane, but it’s becoming apparent that conditions on the ground in eastern Ukraine do not in any way resemble a truce. It’s only fitting that this virtual war should have a virtual cease-fire as well.