Ukrainian rebel leaders have issued a statement today warning that the ongoing Minsk ceasefire could be in jeopardy after yesterday’s parliamentary vote on autonomy added several amendments to the rule that were not discussed in Minsk.
The parliament agreed to eastern autonomy, but conditioned it on them holding a new election under Ukrainian government auspices and control, which means the rebels would in effect have to surrender their territory and hope the Poroshenko government follows through on the vote.
Rebel leaders say they might have to abandon the ceasefire over the dispute, and they say the language of the bill itself is a violation of the ceasefire. Controversy among the far-right in Ukraine’s parliament meant even this weak autonomy bill struggled, and faced a lot of opposition from hawks who think it gives too much to the ethnic Russian east.
At this point the threats are almost certainly posturing and not a serious call for renewed war, though the rebels may be betting that, given the fact they were gaining territory in the days leading up to the ceasefire, the government won’t risk another round of conflict which may just leave them in an even weaker bargaining position.
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