MOSCOW, September 3 (RIA Novosti) - The seven-point plan for a final settlement of the crisis in the southeastern Ukraine outlined by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday is more of a ceasefire initiative, but needs to be put into a grander context, the co-author of the book “Putin's New Russia” Jon Hellevig told RIA Novosti.
“Indeed we need to recognize it as a ceasefire initiative and not a peace plan. A ceasefire is by nature a humanitarian initiative which holds the promise that the ceasefire would help to negotiate peace itself,” Hellevig said. “It is difficult to assess this plan, because it seems that it is lacking a grander context. It is lacking the context of an idea for a permanent peace solution.”
On Wednesday, Russian President said he had seven draft steps that would potentially pave the way for peace in the crisis-torn eastern Ukraine. Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko discussed the first steps to bringing an end to the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine over the telephone on Wednesday, and according to the Kremlin, their views were extremely similar.
Jon Hellevig, however, notes that ceasefire initiative might only give a respite to the Ukrainian armed forces who have been losing the ground in eastern Ukraine rece3ntly.
“But then there is the question, what would be the interests of the warring parties to agree to a ceasefire at this point,” he says. “The people have suffered immensely during the last half a year from the Ukrainian army's wanton artillery shelling and bombing of civil objects and the terror of marauding punitive brigades that have run amok in Donbas. But now the Ukrainian forces are being crushed and there is a real chance that the Donbas armies will expel them from the territory of Donbas,” Hellevig told RIA Novosti.
“It therefore seems to me that in the present situation the ceasefire would play in the hands of Ukrainian Government giving them a welcome respite on the front.”
Putin’s plan, including seven steps, stipulates that the warring sides stop active defensive operations; armed forces are moved far enough away from populated areas to exclude strikes; ensuring full-fledged and objective international control over the compliance of the ceasefire and monitoring the situation to create a secure zone; halt the use of military aviation against civilians in the conflict zone; warring sides exchange prisoners in an “all for all” format; humanitarian cordons opened to allow the movement of refugees and delivery of humanitarian cargo to cities and other settlements; workers sent to the affected regions of Donbas in order to rebuild objects of vital and social infrastructure.
“I therefore must reiterate that perhaps we have not heard all the relevant facts which would help to put this in perspective,” Hellevig concluded.