On the sidelines of this year’s D-Day commemoration, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, President-elect Petro Poroshenko (whose inauguration is on Saturday) met to discuss ongoing violence along their common border.
The easternmost Ukrainian oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk are in a state of effective rebellion, as the ethnic Russian majorities opposed the policies of the interim government preceding Poroshenko. Russia has been calling for a ceasefire and negotiations, while interim officials were pushing for a declaration of martial law and more military action against the region.
Where Poroshenko ultimately ends up on the issue remains to be seen, but he and Putin agreed today to work on a ceasefire, with a Putin aide saying the sides wanted the “soonest possible end” to the fighting.
That’s unlikely to set well with Western nations, which have been cheering the Ukrainian interim government’s military action, while blaming Russia for the ongoing resistance. The western goal appears to be driving Ukraine into the EU sphere of influence by pushing them into a military conflict with Russia.