Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Ukrainians remain under attack by rebels despite cease-fire agreement

By Ingrid Burghard

A cease-fire agreement and withdrawal from Eastern Ukraine was reached on Feb. 15 by the Trilateral Contact Group, which is composed of representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and France to find a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis, according to a statement by the U.S. Department of State.

Fighting in Ukraine was heightened in the weeks prior to the cease-fire, adding to the thousands of fatalities the conflict has caused since Russia invaded last February.

Cease-fire violations were cited within just 24 hours of the agreement, according to The New York Times. However, Leon Rozmarin, a Suffolk senior government lecturer said that Debaltseve, a  city that remains invaded by Russia, was never included in the Minsk-II agreement, meaning there have been no violations.

Professor Leon Rozmarin

“Cease-fire is strong, so to speak,” Rozmarin said, “and has not been violated even though intense fighting has taken place after the Minsk-II agreement around the Debaltseve pocket protrusion.”

Debaltseve has been used by rebel forces to bomb other urban cities, he explained. At the time the agreement was made, Kiev claimed to have control over this area of Ukraine, leaving it out of the cease-fire boundaries.

Ukrainian rebels have taken over this area since the cease-fire due to large quantities of Kiev troops retreating. Debaltseve has been under heavy fire for the last few months because of its geographical advantages, according to Rozmarin.

The recent increase of fighting may be attributed to the cease-fire in 2014 known as Minsk-I, according to Rozmarin.

“Each side expected trickery,” he said, “and used the relative lull in the fall of 2014, the ‘cease-fire,’ to train for and to plan further actions.”

Rozmarin added that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is in the middle of a hard domestic dispute. Poroshenko has people working for him who are in favor of continued fighting despite the cease-fire. These figures are swaying the public into believing that Poroshenko’s inaction means he is not willing to fight for the freedom of Ukraine.

Ukraine continues to be vulnerable to invasion from the Russians, as Rozmarin explains that the economy has been in a rapid decline since before the first invasion in 2014. Ukraine is struggling in terms of funding a war like this.

“Recently a Ukrainian paper reported that while Kiev received $9 billion from the West in 2014, it had to pay back $11 billion” said Rozmarin. Funding a defence against Russia will tie Ukraine into large debts with other countries and continue to make this a worldwide dispute.

U.S Secretary of State, John Kerry, released a statement voicing the U.S’s backing of Ukraine. Kerry explained what he experienced in his trips to Ukraine, and stated that the citizens are looking for a more “democratic and European future in the face of adversity and Russian aggression.” Ukraine is being supported by major powers from all over the world for its freedom, and continues to protest against Putin’s army.

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Ukrainians remain under attack by rebels despite cease-fire agreement