Tuesday September 16, 2014
Just over ten days ago, as the pro-independence forces in east Ukraine were on the march with significant gains on the battlefield, a ceasefire was signed in Minsk, Belarus. According to the terms of the ceasefire, the pro-independence fighters were to lay down their arms, cease their offensive to regain lost territory in the Donetsk and Lugansk region, and disband.
In exchange for this, the US-backed government in Kiev was to agree to an amnesty for pro-independence fighters, commit to economic development in the east, and agree to enshrine decentralization in law to provide autonomy to the east.
Most importantly, the ceasefire was to stop the Kiev government's shelling of major population centers in the east and stop the slaughter of military forces on both sides.
It turns out to be a grotesque sleight of hand, with Kiev receiving guarantees at the September 5, NATO summit in Wales that NATO members would provide the military equipment to finish the pro-independence forces in the east after the ceasefire gave time to re-group a badly beaten, largely conscript Ukrainian army.