I would like to share my thoughts on the ceasefire that was introduced one more time in the Donbas. Definitely, it is good to have a ceasefire. We don’t know for how long it will last because all previous attempts to introduce ceasefires have failed. We hope that this ceasefire will work, but there are questions. The first question is that we don’t have the official text of the document on the ceasefire. Basically, we do not know who has signed it and in what capacity. We have quotes from this document – from OSCE, for example, or from the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, but not the original text. So, we do not know whether pro-Russian proxies signed it, who signed it and what their so-called titles are. And this is very important for us to know. Do they mention so-called “representatives” of the occupied areas? The traditional Ukrainian position was that there were no official “representatives” for the occupied areas because there were no fair and free elections.
The second point: it is mentioned that the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination will work “in its present form” Previously, this Joint Centre was compiled by Ukrainian and Russian officers, but Russians withdrew from the Joint Centre. So, there are questions. Has Russia returned? Or there are pro-Russian proxies, who are pretending that they are representing somebody in this Joint Centre. And the final question: if the ceasefire works, what political concessions would Putin like to get from it? This is very important because if Putin agreed to this ceasefire, there should be some reason for that. And it is clear that Putin would like to reduce sanctions against Russia, and he would like to present the conflict in the Donbas as an inner, domestic conflict. So, it is very important for him to say that the ceasefire is not between Ukraine and Russia but between Ukraine and pro-Russian proxies. Previously, Ukrainian diplomacy has persuaded the West that this is not the case, but the question is whether President Zelensky will make these political concessions to the Russian side. And that would have a detrimental effect on the Ukrainian bargaining position regarding the Donbas.
Olexiy Haran, Professor of Politics, Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Research Director, Democratic Initiatives Foundation: