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

How It Works
June 24 2014 1:57 PM

How Real Is This Ceasefire in Ukraine?

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.

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.


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. 

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


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

160 Countries Host Marches to Demand Action on Climate Change


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.