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Published in Stream:
Ukraine LiveBlog Day 236
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russia May Block Use of Drones To Monitor Ceasefire
7 years
Ukrainian Military Says Russian-Backed Fighters Have Hit 30 Places in a Day; Mine Shelled Near Debaltsevo

Literally every day since the ceasefire was negotiated over one month ago it has been broken by Russian-backed separatists. The whole world is watching, and doing little to nothing, as the international airport in Donetsk, which has always been under the Ukrainian government's control, is attacked every day by Russian-backed militants. The Interpreter has documented many instances of separatist attacks killing civilians. The surrounded Ukrainian troops have desperately fired back. This week, evidence suggests that both Ukrainian and separatist rockets killed civilians in part of Donetsk.

Ukrainian President Poroshenko also warned that without a significant ramp-up of OSCE monitors, there was no way that the ceasefire could be properly monitored by the international community. According to Poroshenko, there are currently 270 OSCE monitors, only 90 of which are in eastern Ukraine, and there would have to be at least 1,500 to properly ensure all sides were complying with the ceasefire agreement. Meanwhile U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland said that the ceasefire was being broken, and as long as that was the case the monitoring mission could not even occur, a statement that lives in the kind of diplomatic paradox which we have come to expect by watching this crisis unfold.

Germany and France have pledged to use drones to help monitor the ceasefire, but even those plans face substantial resistance from Russia. The Wall Street Journal reports:

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Friday that his government had submitted a proposal a day earlier that would allow for two drones to be in the air at all times to observe the truce between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia rebels.

But it was unclear whether the plan was viable, Mr. Steinmeier said, since both Berlin and Paris also want to send armed personnel to provide security for the teams operating the drones—a deployment that could prompt objections from Moscow and faces a possible legislative hurdle in Kiev. (More: Russian Rock Stars Run Afoul of Kremlin Over Ukraine)

“I don’t want to hide the fact that political and legal questions must still be resolved,” Mr. Steinmeier said.

This is the situation in which Ukraine has been stuck for the last month and a half. With conflicts raging in the Middle East, with ebola outbreaks in West Africa and, on occasion, elsewhere, and with American mid-term election season in full swing, the harsh reality of Ukraine is simply not catching the attention of Western people, Western media, or, as a result, Western leaders.