So far, and contrary to most expectations, the latest ceasefire between Ukraine and the eastern separatists, which was announced early yesterday, has managed to hold up. "Contrary" because while it is the talking point of the west that it is Putin's desire to perpetuate the proxy civil war, in reality it was Ukraine's own troops who voiced against a ceasefire as we reported yesterday:
So as everyone is focusing on the breaking headline that will confirm the latest breach of the ceasefire, what is more important is that late on Friday, the European Union announced new economic sanctions against Russia but said they could be suspended if Moscow withdraws its troops and observes the conditions of the ceasefire.
"A ceasefire would be a disaster, we would lose everything. By fighting we can resist the invasion and send them back. With a ceasefire they will consolidate and carry on after a while," said Ukrainian soldier Taras. Another Ukrainian soldier who gave his name as Mykola said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko - who was attending the second day of a NATO summit in Wales on Friday - would "betray the country" if he backed a peace plan at this time."
Ironically, their rebel opponents share the same but opposite opinion: "The ceasefire is looking good for now but we know they (the Ukrainian side) are only using it to bring in more forces here and ammunition and then to hit us with renewed strength," said one rebel commander in Donetsk known by his nickname Montana.
In other words, both sides believe their adversary is merely using the break in the fighting to regroup and reinforce.
Russia was not impressed and its foreign ministry responded angrily on Saturday to the measures, pledging unspecified "reaction" if they were implemented. Moscow responded to a previous round of U.S. and EU sanctions by banning most Western food imports. In other words, Europe's triple-dip recession is still guaranteed, regardless of what Draghi does or pretends to do (as noted before, even if this time he actually does more than just jawbone, Europe will not benefit in the least from the "Private QE" announced earlier in the week).
So based on western propaganda, Putin has now been compared to everything from Hitler, to Stalin, to Cain, to Satan. Clearly everyone is being objective and level-headed.
But for all the rhetoric and posturing, one person summarized it best:
In eastern Ukraine, despite the ceasefire, few expected the crisis to end anytime soon.
"This is no ceasefire but a theatre," said Donetsk resident Ksenia. "This war will go on for five to nine years. Slavs are killing Slavs, there can be nothing worse than that.