Ukraine Rebel Leader: We Are Open to a Ceasefire

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 9 2014 3:08 PM

Ukraine Rebel Leader: We Are Open to a Ceasefire

Par7947353
A serviceman sits on a tank gun barrel while a helicopter flies on the position of the Ukrainian troops in Donetsk region on Saturday

Photo by ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP/Getty Images

As the Ukrainian government troops surround the key rebel-held city of Donetsk, a top leader of the insurgents says the pro-Russian separatist fighters would be willing to accept a ceasefire in order to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. "We are ready for a ceasefire to prevent the proliferation of a humanitarian disaster in Donbass," Alexander Zakharchenko, the so-called prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk people's republic said in a statement, in reference to the area where fighting is taking place, reports Reuters. As Ukrainian troops closed in on the largest rebel-held city that has become almost a headquarters for the separatist movement, conditions “were clearly deteriorating,” reports the Associated Press. Zakharchenko warned the city faced food and water shortages. "In the event of a storm of the city the number of victims will increase by magnitude. We have no humanitarian corridors. There is no supply of medicines ... food supplies are nearing their end," he said.

Although the descriptions of the dire conditions in Donetsk could be the justifications to accept the ceasefire, it could also be a way to increase pressure on the international community to allow a Russian humanitarian mission in the region. Moscow has long been pushing to send a humanitarian mission to eastern Ukraine, but Kiev sees that as an excuse for Russia to get its troops inside Ukrainian soil. President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both agreed in a telephone conversation Saturday that any Russian intervention in Ukraine, even for humanitarian reasons, would violate international law. Any direct Russian intervention in Ukraine would “provoke additional consequences,” said the White House, according to the Associated Press.

Advertisement

Despite NATO warnings over the past week that Russia has gathered enough troops at the border to invade, it seems Kiev is “calling Putin’s bluff,” as a former Ukrainian diplomat tells the New York Times

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Science

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

We Could Fix Climate Change for Free. What Exactly Is Holding Us Back?

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 17 2014 5:21 PM Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS But the next president might. 
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM Should Men Still Open Doors for Women? Or is it ungentlemanly to do so at all?  
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 4:36 PM Is Nonfiction the Patriarch of Literary Genres?
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 5:56 PM Watch Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle, Bill Hicks, Mitch Hedberg, and More on New YouTube Channel
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 5:26 PM If Fixing Global Warming Is Free, What’s the Holdup?
  Health & Science
Jurisprudence
Sept. 17 2014 4:49 PM Schooling the Supreme Court on Rap Music Is it art or a true threat of violence?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?