Ukraine, Rebels Agree to Withdraw From Key Frontline Areas

Pullback Will Happen Sometime in the Next Month

by Jason Ditz, September 21, 2016

Ukrainian officials and the rebels in Eastern Ukraine have agreed to a new military pullback along their still tense frontier. The deal was signed in Minsk, and will be monitored by the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe.

The new deal will see both sides withdraw from three sections of land around small towns in Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts, aiming to prevent the two sides from engaging in fighting with one another over those areas. The pullback is to happen in a 3-day period, at some unspecified date in the next month.

While this deal is separate from the ceasefire negotiated in February 2015, it appears to be aimed at shoring up the deal, for while it has mostly stopped major fighting between the government and the rebels, there has remained considerable tension and repeated outbreaks of skirmishes along the border.

The overwhelmingly ethnic Russian eastern Ukrainians began to rebel shortly after a revolution which saw the pro-Russian government ousted and replaced by a pro-Western faction, who began to pass laws severely restricting traditional economic ties with Russia. They also banned the use of Russian language in official business, which is the primary language used across much of the east.

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