by Adam Holub, a Czech student of BA International Relations at King’s College London. Editor of the Latin America Section.
I cannot help feeling that the current eastern Ukrainian conflict is being somewhat neglected in the shadow of some of the more popular, accessible and sexier problems of the international society.
A state of war is one of the realities of today’s Europe. The Ukrainian government has not yet officially declared a state of war it but that might have more to do with the shift of decision making towards the military, which would take place. As of today, the word “war” is quite openly used by most of the world’s leaders. Some claim the war is on, some claim that the war will begin if the fighting doesn’t stop tonight. The declaration of martial law or of the official state of war for the whole of Ukraine ironically looks more probable than ever after the latest attempt to give the events a kind of order from the diplomatic table in Minsk.
One cannot help thinking that the so praised meeting in Minsk only brought about, if unintentionally, a rather cynical situation. The time frame in which the two sides were supposed to get their positions and forces ready for an armistice is being used to make as much last minute advance as possible. A clear example of this is the city of Mariupol where some of the heaviest fighting only escalates now. Further, the latest information is that Alexander Zakharchenko now completely refuses to include the strategically important point in the Minsk ceasefire agreement. Dobaltseve is currently under some very heavy fire and over the last couple of weeks got a symbolic significance of the conflict. The removal of Dobaltseve from the principled truce dramatically undermines the very sense of any kind of future diplomatic involvement in this crisis and can only lead to further cynicism.
The whole of the Old Continent should be mesmerised by what happens in Ukraine in the following 7 hours. If the outcome is not the desired ceasefire of the extent agreed upon in Minsk, two questions should arise immediately: does Russia in fact have the necessary control over the Ukrainian rebels? If she does, why does the Russian president prefer the current state? I don’t know the answers but I fear they would be quite troubling either way. Unfortunately, I think these questions will soon have to be posed.