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New ceasefire in Ukraine, but the war parties are still in power in Kyiv and Brussels

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A new ceasefire agreement is supposed to come into effect in eastern Ukraine within 24 hours. It replaces the ceasefire of September 5, 2014. That agreement was systematically violated from the get-go by the regime in Kyiv.

The previous ceasefire was definitively ended in mid-January when Kyiv launched a military offensive believing it could deliver a military blow to the pro-autonomy political movement of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of southeast Ukraine, all the while terrorizing the civilian population into submission. It judged wrongly; indeed its army and its allied, fascist militias have suffered significant blows over the past month. It lost its foothold in the airport and surrounding district of Donetsk city. The line of demarcation established in September 2014 has been pushed back in favour of Donetsk and Luhansk. Presently, thousands of Kyiv's soldiers and militia members are surrounded in and around the railway center of Debaltseve.

But the regime has nonetheless been able to perpetrate considerable human carnage and material destruction during the past month through its grisly shelling of towns and cities. The aim is to break the will of the people of the region and of all of Ukraine, to force the people to surrender to a neo-conservative, extreme right regime and austerity agenda which they outright, or increasingly, reject.

Kyiv will now use the ceasefire period to regroup and rearm. It has received commitments from the U.S., Canada and other countries to continue their support of a war course. That includes threats to lavish more advanced weaponry on Kyiv and its extremist militias. But Ukraine's billionaire elite confront a catastrophic economic situation, which their war and austerity policies have considerably deepened. And there is a growing wave of antiwar protest among the Ukraine population.

Can the war course be sustained and renewed? Or will political change in Ukraine and in Europe (Greece!) check the worst ambitions of the warmakers? Time will tell. We can hope that a period of ceasefire will be a time of political reflection and regroupment by progressive political forces in Ukraine as well as progressive opinion abroad. The people of Ukraine—all the people of this country, however its borders may be perceived or become redrawn—are in urgent need of international antiwar and anti-austerity solidarity.

I recommend these two articles analyzing the ceasefire agreement in Ukraine:

There is a great deal of other, vital information published on the website New Cold War: Ukraine and beyond, including recommended website links for those wishing to read more detailed information. I highly recommend an article posted today to the website: Neoliberalism is our Frankenstein: Greece and Ukraine are the hot spots of a new war for supremacy, by Patrick L. Smith, Salon.com, Feb 12, 2015.

Also on the website is news about the sniper fire massacre that killed dozens on Maidan Square in Kyiv last February 20, 2014. That event gave a major political boost to the Euromaidan movement's effort to overthrow Ukraine's elected presidency and usher in a neo-conservative and pro-Europe austerity regime to take its place. The BBC has belatedly recognized and published what others have documented and reported previously -- that sniper fire came from the Euromaidan camp.

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