Tags: America's Forum | Russia | Ukraine | Roman Popadiuk | Ukraine | separatists | cease-fire

Ex-Ukraine Diplomat: Putin May Be 'Amendable' to Cease-fire

By    |   Friday, 13 Feb 2015 12:12 PM

The cease-fire brokered between Russia and Ukraine sets up a much-needed "yardstick" by which the Russians and Russian separatists can be held accountable, but whether it will work is a wait-and-see proposition, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Roman Popadiuk said Friday on "America’s Forum" on Newsmax TV.

The deal announced this week is more detailed and carries more weight than a previous one reached in September, he said, such as a date certain for the cease-fire (Sunday, Feb. 15), a time limit on pulling back heavy equipment, and a concrete deadline for Ukraine to hold elections in the region by the end of 2015, the same time the border is to revert to Ukrainian control.

"So there is some concrete yardsticks here, or markers, that have to be met that didn't take place in the first Minsk agreement," Popadiuk said. "As a result of this, the West will be able to judge whether or not the separatists and the Russian supporters are really living up to the agreement.

"I have to point out, this is a very good procedure in terms of the agreement because already we've heard (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel say that the sanctions that the EU agreed upon this past week will take place and be implemented on Monday, Feb. 16. So the pressure is going to continue upon the separatists and the Russians."

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The United States, Popadiuk said, has been supportive in that President Barack Obama is now considering the possibility of providing defensive arms to Ukraine, "a step up in terms of the pressure that the West, particularly the United States, is going to undertake."

Popadiuk also said there are a variety of factors presently at play that might persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to "be a little bit more amenable toward an actual solution" than he was at the time of the first Minsk agreement.

"First of all, since September we've seen a deterioration of the Russian economy due to the sanctions that have been put in place," he said. "Also, very importantly, because of the drop in oil prices. But I would also point out a number of other things.

"The Russians, while they built up their forces and sent in more equipment and sent in their own troops into eastern Ukraine, in the battles against the Ukrainian military, while ... undermanned and underequipped, has been able to fight back, so the resistance from the Ukrainian military has been a lot greater than the Russians really expected.

"And the Russians, again, [are] in a situation where their costs — both human as well as economic — are starting to rise and their long logistical trail into the territory is starting to increase. So they're starting to reconsider whether the military solution is really going to be very successful for them in the long term."

The Obama administration working closely with the Europeans on sanctions against the Russians, combined with the threat of providing defensive arms to Ukraine, are factors that will hopefully lead to a successfully negotiated settlement, Popadiuk said.

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The cease-fire brokered between Russia and Ukraine sets up a much-needed "yardstick" by which the Russians and Russian separatists can be held accountable, but whether it will work is a wait-and-see proposition, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Roman Popadiuk tells Newsmax TV.
Roman Popadiuk, Ukraine, separatists, cease-fire, Russia
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2015-12-13
Friday, 13 Feb 2015 12:12 PM
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