Zelensky’s Party Appears Winning Majority; Ceasefire Starts
July 21, 2019 (EIRNS)—Volodomyr Zelensky’s Servant of the People party was gaining a majority in Sunday’s elections July 21 to the unicameral Verkhovna Rada legislature of Ukraine, according to exit polls reported by BBC and other media. The exit polls indicate the party will have about 45% of the vote, but will need a coalition partner to govern. The Voice Party, with about 6%, is reportedly Zelensky’s choice.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview with Oliver Stone on June 19 in the Kremlin, replied to Stone’s question whether Putin saw Russia and Ukraine coming together again, “I think this is inevitable. At any rate, the cultivation of normal, friendly, and even more than friendly, allied relations in inevitable.”
An indefinite ceasefire between the Kiev government and the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (D.P.R. and L.P.R.) went into effect at midnight local time on Sunday, July 21, TASS reported. The Contact Group on Ukrainian reconciliation, which convened in Minsk, Belarus on July 17, agreed on additional measures to ensure ceasefire compliance.
Kiev officials do not rule out that this ceasefire will last until the conflict is fully settled, but the two self-proclaimed republics doubt Ukraine’s ability to observe it. TASS reported. “It has been agreed that an indefinite ceasefire will take effect at midnight on July 21,” Ukraine’s envoy to the political subgroup of the Contact Group on resolving the conflict, Roman Bessmertny, told reporters on July 18.
Donetsk People’s Republic leader Denis Pushilin was less optimistic, saying, “Shelling continues on the backdrop of a peaceful rally initiated by people living in the two republics, and agreements on an indefinite ceasefire. People continue to be killed,” he said, and continuing that such actions raise doubts if the ceasefire can be enforced. “We call on Kiev and the world community to stop killing people in Donbas.”
On the eve of the ceasefire, the people’s militias of the D.P.R. and Luhansk People’s Republic commander Mikhail Filiponenko said, “We are ready to adhere to the conditions of another ceasefire and, as earlier, we are ready to implement a ceasefire regime,” the LuhanskInformCenter news agency quoted him as saying.