Ukraine Is Still A Mess

Adam Chandler highlights a UN report revealing that at least 331 people have been killed in the Ukrainian conflict since the signing of a ceasefire on September 5:

“There is a total breakdown of law and order,” said Gianni Magazzeni, the United Nations human rights official who announced the release of the report in Geneva. Over the past month, grim developments have included the shelling of schools and city buses, the gutting of villages, the fierce battles for control of Donetsk’s Sergei Prokofiev Airport, and startling lists of locals who are believed to either be missing or held captive by pro-Russian rebels. An early October report estimated that nearly 400,000 Ukrainians are internally displaced, part of a seven-figure estimate for the total number of Ukrainians who have been displaced.

While the latest violence has largely been limited to the exchange of small-arms fire—a shift from this summer’s large-scale military offensives, which drove up death tolls and ultimately forced the warring sides to negotiate—there’s been little letup in fighting over the past month.

With a battle raging between Ukrainian and rebel forces over the Donetsk airport, the ceasefire appears to be going off the rails entirely, threatening to take the upcoming parliamentary elections with it:

As the shaky cease-fire has failed to quell the most intensive fighting in and around Donetsk, government officials fear the separatists are regrouping for a fresh offensive to take Mariupol and the rest of the seaside corridor that would connect mainland Russia with the Crimean peninsula that the Kremlin seized and annexed seven months ago.

Ukraine has scheduled parliamentary elections for Oct. 26, and the Moscow-backed separatists are suspected of aiming to control enough Ukrainian territory by then to prevent voting in the areas they hold in order to undermine the legitimacy of the election. Although hundreds of thousands of eastern Ukraine residents have fled the fighting, the Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions were home to 8.5 million before the conflict, representing about 18% of the country’s population.

The Interpreter underscores a series of unsettling surveys showing that 70 percent of Ukrainians believe they are at war with Russia, while nearly 50 percent want the country to become a nuclear power again. At the same time, western Ukrainians are getting tired of supporting the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the fighting:

Attitudes toward IDPs in Ukraine appear to have shifted since the onset of the conflict pitting government forces against pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east. As displaced families continue to stream westward, the initial outpouring of solidarity — which once saw residents extend free accommodation to IDPs — is slowly giving way to impatience and distrust. “You can often see ads that say ‘Flat for rent, people from Donetsk, Luhansk, and Africa please abstain,'” says Ivan Kudoyar, a real estate lawyer in Kyiv.

Things like this aren’t just happening in Kyiv. Anastasia, a young woman who fled Donetsk two weeks ago, says she’s losing hope of finding a flat to rent in the western city of Lviv. “The main obstacle I’ve encountered during my search is my Donetsk registration,” she says. “I meet with the landlord, we agree on the rent, then he looks into my passport and says ‘Sorry, this is a matter of principle.”