Wait, Vladimir Putin Is Playing Good Cop in Ukraine Now?

The World
How It Works
June 24 2014 1:57 PM

How Real Is This Ceasefire in Ukraine?

Par7900791
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his news conference at the Normandy Barriere hotel in Deauville on June 6, 2014.

Photo by YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images

Seemingly, all the ingredients are in place for a resolution to the ongoing violence in Ukraine. New Ukrainian Petro Poroshenko declared a ceasefire last week, which was backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and, today, by the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic. Former President Leonid Kuchma is acting as a go-between in talks between the government and the rebels which allows Poroshenko to (technically) keep his pledge not to negotiate with rebels who have blood on their hands. In what appears to be another step toward de-escalation, Putin renounced his right to send troops into Ukraine today.

Joshua Keating Joshua Keating

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

On the other hand, in Ukraine itself, it certainly doesn’t look like the fighting has stopped. Another Ukrainian military helicopter was shot down by rebels a day after the ceasefire deal was announced. Both sides are accusing the other of violating the truce.

Advertisement

Putin’s announcement comes just a few days after NATO claimed that there is a new military buildup taking place. His support for the ceasefire deal that would involve pro-Russian militants leaving the country also came just days after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov compared it to “ethnic cleansing.”

With more international sanctions potentially on the way, Putin lately seems to be playing the unlikely role of good cop in this conflict, voicing support for reconciliation and peace while the pro-Russian rebels keep fighting with what certainly seems like tacit support from Moscow, and his foreign minister and the national gas monopoly keep up the pressure on Kiev.

Some of the rebel groups may also have gone rogue – some members of the recently formed militia group Russian Orthodox Army recently expressing irritation with Putin’s on-again-off-again support.  

In any event, the good news is that the worst-case scenario – full Russian invasion – now looks extremely unlikely. But the volatile mess in Eastern Ukraine still looks a long way from resolution. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technocracy
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.