I am immensely relieved that a deal among the governments of Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and the European Union has been reached in an effort to avert violence and de-escalate the increasingly troubling crisis in East Ukraine. (See the Washington Post article by Karen DeYoung and Anne Gearan, describing the deal. Also see this article from BBC News.) While the deal does not resolve all of the outstanding key issues of contention among the parties (the various territorial and policy disputes), it is a tremendous step in the right direction in denouncing the use of violence, rejecting bigoted mindsets such as anti-Semitism and exclusivist nationalism more generally, offering those who have not committed violence a chance to return to civilian life unscathed, and holding all sides to the promise to disarm and marginalize violent militants. I have written previously that war would be the worst option for Ukraine and the world in general. Any agreement that takes us even a small step away from war and toward a civilized, peaceful resolution is a welcome development in defense of a bright, cosmopolitan future of advancing technology and rising living standards for all – instead of meaningless carnage and destruction.
If Vladimir Putin’s regime was indeed behind the arming and organizing of the insurgents in the Donetsk region, then Russia’s accession to this deal can be expected to be followed by the disempowerment of the insurgency. If the havoc wreaked by the separatist uprising cannot last without Putin’s assistance, then withdrawal of that assistance would hopefully restore a semblance of peace and safety for civilians.