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Can Minsk II Be Revived Before War Erupts?

Sept. 13, 2016 (EIRNS)—A series of dramatic developments over the past 24 hours suggests that a combined Russian-European diplomatic effort could finally move the Ukraine peace talks forward.

The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday afternoon that Alexander Zakharchenko, the commander of the Donetsk forces, went on Russian television to announce a unilateral cease-fire beginning at midnight on Wednesday. Zakharchenko called on the Ukraine government to join the cease-fire. The day before the Zakharchenko announcement, Ukraine President Poroshenko told the media that a parliamentary vote on the constitutional changes granting autonomy to eastern Ukraine was imminent. On Monday, Poroshenko participated in a phone discussion with German, French, and Russian officials, and today, German Foreign Minister Steinmeieer and French Foreign Minister Ayrault arrived in Kiev for consultations with Poroshenko. On Wednesday, Poroshenko will meet with the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Poland, and Britain. In the past 24 hours, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and French President Hollande have both issued prominent public statements, declaring that the Minsk II process is the only option for settling the Ukraine crisis, and must be implemented now.

Washington sources have emphasized that, while the Kerry-Lavrov talks have focused on Syria, the two have constantly discussed ways to revive Minsk II, and, at one point several months ago, it appeared that a breakthrough was near.

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