Deal reached on Ukraine. Will it hold?

The deal reached in Geneva between Ukraine and Russia pretty much rings the death knell for an independent Ukraine. The Ukrainian government will have to negotiate a plan with pro-Russian separatists that grants some provincesr greater autonomy - which means Kiev will be negotiating with Putin. All pro-Russian separatists will have to lay down their arms and vacate buildings they've occupied, while the government will grant amnesty to all except those accused of a capital crime.

The Hill:

President Obama expressed optimism that the framework was a positive step, but he acknowledged it was unclear whether separatists on the ground would follow through. 

"We're not going to know whether in fact they'll follow through on these statements for several days," he said at a White House press conference.

Kerry agreed the agreement is a "good day's work," he said leaders understood that, so far, it's only "words on paper."

Obama and Kerry have repeatedly accused Russia of stirring up unrest in Ukraine, and they said they would hold Russia accountable if things did not improve. The president specifically suggested tougher sanctions could be imposed.

"We have put in place additional consequences we can impose on the Russians if we do not see actual improvement on the ground," Obama said. "We have to be prepared to potentially respond to what continue to be efforts at interference."

Some outside observers raised questions about whether the agreement would really commit Russia to much of anything. 

Ukraine expert Anders Aslund of the Peterson Institute noted that the deal did not require Russia to move troops it has amassed on Ukraine's border.
 
He also said that because pro-Russian militants were not party to the deal, Russia could continue to secretly use them to de-stabilize Ukraine while claiming their hands were clean. 
 
“What this means is that the West has accepted to be bluffed,”he said. “What will Putin say? He will say what he already said: ‘Sorry but the people fighting in the streets are behind the violence and they were not at the table so how can this apply to them?’”
 
Steve Pifer of the Brookings Institution, however, said the deal is better than expected.
 
"The big question is whether it will be implemented, and much will depend on whether Moscow does it part to defuse the crisis," he said. "Given all that Russia has done the past several weeks to crank up pressure and destabilize Ukraine, people are understandably dubious about Moscow's commitment to fulfill the statement."
In short, Putin gets pretty much everything he wants while Ukraine bargains away its sovereignty. All in the interests of "peace," of course. What contempt Putin must hold us in.
 
That the US didn't insist Putin withdraw his troops from the Ukrainian border shows just how little leverage we have with Russia. At least Kerry and Obama had the sense to play down this agreement, probably knowing full well that most of it will be honored in the breach. There are already signs that the pro-Russian militias have no intention of abandioning the buildings they are occupying, much less disarm.
 
They're probably waiting for orders from Moscow.
 

 

The deal reached in Geneva between Ukraine and Russia pretty much rings the death knell for an independent Ukraine. The Ukrainian government will have to negotiate a plan with pro-Russian separatists that grants some provincesr greater autonomy - which means Kiev will be negotiating with Putin. All pro-Russian separatists will have to lay down their arms and vacate buildings they've occupied, while the government will grant amnesty to all except those accused of a capital crime.

The Hill:

President Obama expressed optimism that the framework was a positive step, but he acknowledged it was unclear whether separatists on the ground would follow through. 

"We're not going to know whether in fact they'll follow through on these statements for several days," he said at a White House press conference.

Kerry agreed the agreement is a "good day's work," he said leaders understood that, so far, it's only "words on paper."

Obama and Kerry have repeatedly accused Russia of stirring up unrest in Ukraine, and they said they would hold Russia accountable if things did not improve. The president specifically suggested tougher sanctions could be imposed.

"We have put in place additional consequences we can impose on the Russians if we do not see actual improvement on the ground," Obama said. "We have to be prepared to potentially respond to what continue to be efforts at interference."

Some outside observers raised questions about whether the agreement would really commit Russia to much of anything. 

Ukraine expert Anders Aslund of the Peterson Institute noted that the deal did not require Russia to move troops it has amassed on Ukraine's border.
 
He also said that because pro-Russian militants were not party to the deal, Russia could continue to secretly use them to de-stabilize Ukraine while claiming their hands were clean. 
 
“What this means is that the West has accepted to be bluffed,”he said. “What will Putin say? He will say what he already said: ‘Sorry but the people fighting in the streets are behind the violence and they were not at the table so how can this apply to them?’”
 
Steve Pifer of the Brookings Institution, however, said the deal is better than expected.
 
"The big question is whether it will be implemented, and much will depend on whether Moscow does it part to defuse the crisis," he said. "Given all that Russia has done the past several weeks to crank up pressure and destabilize Ukraine, people are understandably dubious about Moscow's commitment to fulfill the statement."
In short, Putin gets pretty much everything he wants while Ukraine bargains away its sovereignty. All in the interests of "peace," of course. What contempt Putin must hold us in.
 
That the US didn't insist Putin withdraw his troops from the Ukrainian border shows just how little leverage we have with Russia. At least Kerry and Obama had the sense to play down this agreement, probably knowing full well that most of it will be honored in the breach. There are already signs that the pro-Russian militias have no intention of abandioning the buildings they are occupying, much less disarm.
 
They're probably waiting for orders from Moscow.
 

 

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