Why Russia Wants A Cease-Fire

Patrick Appel —  Jul 22 2014 @ 12:20pm

It’s a tactical move Russia has used before:

Putin supports a cease-fire, as he has all along, because that leaves the Russian-sponsored forces in control of Ukrainian territory, a status quo that suits Russian interests. This is precisely why the Ukrainian authorities originally ended the cease-fire, and why they have continued operations even after the downing of the aircraft. They suspect that the longer the territory remains in Russian hands, the more likely it is that it will never be returned.

To see why a cease-fire works to Russia’s advantage, the Ukrainian leadership need only look to Ukraine’s western border, where a slice of its neighbor Moldova known as Transnistria has been occupied by pro-Russian forces since 1992. The conflict began when a group that did not want Moldova to secede from the Soviet Union took up arms, with extensive support from the Soviet/Russian military. A cease-fire was declared in July 1992, and the conflict has remained “frozen” ever since.

Anna Nemtsova reports that fighting in Donetsk has heated up:

Clearly, all of the statements from Moscow and Kiev about a cease-fire for the period of the investigation have been forgotten. Rebels reinforced their positions in Donetsk, bringing tanks and armored personnel carriers closer to the railway station on Panfilova Avenue. Glass was blown out of the windows of five-story buildings on Slavatskaya Street. Local radio reported that the Ukrainian military blew up railroad tracks and blocked approaches to the city.

Once again civilians paid the price of this ferocious war. Shells killed pedestrians running to try to escape into basements. A young woman’s body was lying on the dusty road by a row of garages: her head was destroyed, both of her shoes had been thrown in the air by the shock wave of the explosion and had landed a few steps away from her motionless body.