Talks continue on the East Ukraine civil war, with another deal reached in Minsk on Tuesday and announced today which dramatically extends the heavy weapons pull-back deal between the warring factions, extending the pull-back to tanks and artillery under 100 mm caliber. Previously only those above that caliber were removed from the front line.
Denis Pushlin, the envoy for the rebel east, praised the latest deal, saying there was a good chance that if the two sides followed through on the pullback it could “mean the end of the war.” The two sides have been in a state of ceasefire since February, with some violations reported intermittently.
Not even was so upbeat, with rebel leaders saying they were skeptical the Ukrainian military would keep their side of the deal. The Ukrainian military was even more pessimistic, saying they are sure the rebels will violate all terms of the ceasefire, including the new ones.
The resolution of the civil war was initially supposed to happen with the east holding local elections in concert with the rest of the country in late October. The Ukrainian government later declared they wouldn’t allow elections to be held there, and when the rebels announced they intended to hold elections with or without permission, it added to tensions in the area. At present, the elections are scheduled but the government won’t recognize the winners as legitimate.