Press TV has interviewed James Jatras, a former US Senate foreign policy analyst, in Washington, to discuss the recent escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine.
The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: What is it going to take to actually bring peace to the eastern areas of Ukraine? Although there is supposedly a ceasefire we continue to see these flare-ups, this time with at least five Ukrainian soldiers being killed.
Jatras: Well, of course we have a frozen conflict at this point and a ceasefire that has been more or less holding but no political settlement.
At this point, the real question is, is this simply another one of those incidents, particularly a bad one, where one side or the other was probing the defenses of the other or this has some strategic significance? For example because of the attacks in Paris, the potential that there may be some stronger Western action in Syria directed not against ISIS (Daesh) so much but against the Assad government as we are already hearing people in Washington calling for.
I think we can expect then that would have repercussions elsewhere, including in Ukraine, and that is why that make you concerned at this point. If this is simply another violation of the ceasefire, I will be the bad one, but it is simply the absence of a political settlement then nothing much has changed but we do not know that yet.
Press TV: Well, in general… I mean we have seen this crisis going on in this area for a while now and of course people are still… civilians on the ground still continuing to die. In your perspective, in order to have either a permanent ceasefire and have this situation totally settled, what is it going to take for the two sides in order to reach that type of solution?
Jatras: What it is going to take is for Kiev to finally meet its obligations under the Minsk II agreement, which is to negotiate directly with the Lugansk and Donetsk Republic for their status under Ukrainian law as part of Ukraine but with self-governing status and really a decentralization of Ukraine and that is what the Kiev government simply has been unwilling to do.