Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced a temporary ceasefire that will last from today through June 27, even though the Russian-backed rebels have said that they have no interest in a truce.
Poroshenko's instructions to separatists is pretty direct, according to the country's Interior Ministry, which quoted him as saying that "those who will not lay down their weapons will be destroyed." Poroshenko also said that the move "doesn't mean we won't fight back against any aggression towards our troops," and that "we will do everything to protect the territory of our state." Though Russian President Vladimir Putin, who spoke with Poroshenko on Thursday, seemed to be on board with the plan, his government appears to feel differently. The Kremlin called the announcement an "ultimatum," rather than "an invitation to peace and negotiations." And Russia doesn't appear to be backing off of Ukraine's border. Per CNN:
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday that the military alliance had seen a "new Russian military buildup" near the border with Ukraine. This, Rasmussen said, involved "at least a few thousand more Russian troops deployed to the Ukrainian border, and we see troop maneuvers in the neighborhood of Ukraine." The U.S. government also believes that additional Russian tanks have been deployed as potential reinforcements for separatists in Ukraine, a senior administration official said Friday.
The temporary ceasefire is the first step in implementing a peace process designed to bring quiet to the region, which has seen violent clashes between pro-Russian rebels and government forces. We'll have to see if ever takes hold.