It’s the end of 2017 and the question on everybody’s mind is: has Ukraine achieved peace? It’s been a couple years since the crisis emerged, but now people are wondering if it has come to a close.
Although difficult to find a fatality count these days, peace relations have been rocky in recent weeks. The key players, the United States and Russia, have come across disagreements on peace plans. However, a joint statement was released by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, “‘Both sides agreed to reflect on the discussions…and to think about further ways to address this challenge.’” Between November 14-16, Wess Mitchell, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, met with Ukrainian officials to “’reaffirm the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and encourage Ukraine to continue implementing critical reforms.’” Mitchell also met with business and civic leaders to “discuss Ukrainian efforts to transform the country into a ‘prosperous, secure, and democratic European state.’”
Still, the conflict in Ukraine remains alive. According to the Unian Information Agency, Donbas militants attacked Ukraine 11 times on December 16th. Outside of various villages, these attackers fired mortars and infantry weapons. The UIA also states that “In the Donetsk sector, the situation was most tense near the Sea of Azov. The Russian occupation forces fired from 120mm and 82mm mortars near the villages of Hnutove and Pavlopil, while the defenders of the village of Vodiane came under fire from infantry fighting vehicles. In addition, the militants repeatedly violated the truce in the suburbs of Avdiyivka, using light infantry weapons.” It is clear that violence is continuous and is nowhere near the end. Even France, according to Ukrinform, called on Russia to use influence to halt militants in Donbas after several attacks this week. Although ceasefire is desired by many, it is unlikely to happen soon.
Moreover, corruption causes Ukraine to be extremely vulnerable to Russia. Since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, it has been an issue throughout every single presidency. President Poroshenko is attempting, and ultimately failing, in trying to prevent corruption. According to the Washington Post, Poroshenko invited Mikheil Saakashvili, former President of Georgia, to help transform Ukraine into a Western-style democracy in order to improve its chances of joining the EU. Mr. Saakashvil had other plans for Ukraine: he wanted to lead a revolution. Poroshenko has attempted, and also failed, to jail or deport his former ally. The United States and the European Union have major influence over Ukraine. They must support the government’s efforts to stop corruption and improve democracy.
Therefore, the answer is: no, Ukraine has not yet achieved peace. It is unfortunate that so many issues continue to engulf Ukraine, and displays that humanitarian aid is crucial. While the death toll is not as significant as it was two years ago, people continue to suffer, and it is difficult to find widespread media coverage about it. Remember to share, educate, and donate, for it is our responsibility to care for the forgotten people of Ukraine.