Russian-Ukraine conflict exacerbated by cease-fire violation

Less than 48 hours after a cease-fire was declared between the Ukraine and Russian-backed rebels, loud booms were heard in the port city of Mariupol as well as in Donetsk.

The cease-fire was agreed upon at talks between representatives of Ukraine, the rebels, Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, even though there were some details that were not clear.

These included aspects of control and prisoner exchange.

“Obviously it was a situation where the both sides have strong feelings against the opposition,” said sophomore Ben Winstead, a political science major. “And while I hope the cease-fire helps work to solving the issue, I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t given the history of the parties involved.”

Though the truce appeared to be holding for the first couple of days, both sides have been accusing one another of violating it. Since it began, four Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and 29 others have been injured.

There have been some isolated reports in both Mariupol and in Donetsk of shelling and gunfire. Both reported artillery fire, and there has been one confirmation of a civilian casualty in Mariupol.

Since the incidents in Mariupol and Donetsk, however, there have been no further reports of violations of the cease-fire. It may be only a matter of time before fighting starts back up, though.

“Both sides needed time to regroup, rearm and get ready for the next round,” said Robert Duncan, assistant professor of political science. “Until one side is in full control, they’re going to continue to do that until one side stops.”

As far as a solution, it may be only a matter of time before NATO gets involved. Until then, it does not seem much is going to be resolved.

“The only way the (Russian-Ukrainian conflict) could be resolved is if NATO stepped in to assist the Ukrainians,” said Duncan. “Unless they step in, nothing is going to happen.”

NATO has met as recently as Aug. 31,according to CNN reports. There is talk of increased military support for Ukraine against Russia, but at this time, that seems much too risky.

“It is best not to mess with Russia,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin in a speech in late August. “Let me remind you, we are a nuclear superpower.”

Until NATO intervention, the countries’ leaders will have to stay in contact. Both Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko have spoken in regards to how long the cease-fire will last. But as of right now, that solution remains unclear.

“Putin is a hard one to read regarding the entire conflict,” said Jeremy Rinker, assistant professor of peace and conflict studies.

“I think Putin’s goal, at this juncture, is to weaken the Ukrainian government and thus gain additional concessions,” said Ken Gilmore, associate professor of political science in an email interview. “The cease-fire comes at a time when Russian forces have accomplished as much as they can without a full-scale invasion.”

Some Ukrainian officials also believe that the Russian government wants to extend Russian territory as far west as the country’s capital Kiev, which is in the center of Ukraine.

Whatever Putin’s goals are for the region, there is no reason to think the fighting will stop until those goals are accomplished.

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