Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's announcement of a ceasefire with Russia on Wednesday raises nearly as many questions as it means to answer. Here's what we know.
Earlier today, Ukraine announced what seemed to be a meaningful development after over five months of battle between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists (and, under the cover of subterfuge, Russian troops too). However, they quickly changed that statement, apparently overstating the level of agreement on a conversation between Poroshenko and Vladimir Putin.
Poroshenko's office first said that there [was] "agreement on a permanent cease-fire," but later revised the statement to say "agreement on a cease-fire regime." The changes appeared in Ukrainian, Russian and English-language versions issued by the office.
But as Newsweek pointed out, the Kremlin immediately threw cornstarch on the development by reiterating that Russia can't really stop the fighting because they are not (cough, cough) actually fighting in eastern Ukraine:
Russian news agency RIA quoted Dmitry Peskov, Putin's press secretary, as saying: "Putin and Poroshenko really discussed the steps that would contribute to a ceasefire between the militia and the Ukrainian forces. Russia cannot physically agree to a ceasefire because it is not a party to the conflict."
This ceasefire foofaraw an obvious Putin gambit to divide Europeans before the NATO summit— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) September 3, 2014
Also this happened:
Of this development, Reuters wrote:
The timing was clearly calculated to throw down a challenge to NATO and the United States, hours before President Barack Obama was due to deliver a speech (1200 GMT) on the crisis in Russia's neighbor Estonia.
Meanwhile, vows to continue fighting emanated from the quarters of most importance:
Vladislav Brrig, a rebel official, told The Associated Press, "As long as Ukrainian forces are on the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic there can be no ceasefire."