Peace attempts

Several peace efforts have been made in Ukraine, especially as its stability closely impacts on wider international relations, but no treaties have yet held. In 2014, representatives of Russia, the USA, the EU, and Ukraine adopted the Geneva declaration on the Ukrainian crisis. This included the disarmament of illegal armed groups, the end of the occupation of administrative buildings, and amnesty for protesters. However, heavy fighting continued, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) mediated another round of peace talks between Russia, Ukraine, and representatives of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic, resulting in the ceasefire agreements of the Minsk accords. This too, failed to stop fighting in Donbas and in early 2015 the Minsk II agreements saw the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany agreed to a package of measures to alleviate the ongoing war. The new package however, has been criticized for being very complicated and hopes for its success are fragile. Difficulties in its implementation include the proliferation of arms in the Ukraine, the lack of job opportunities, limited access to medical and psychological rehabilitation (particularly for more than 20,000 demobilized soldiers) and a deep anxiety that the ceasefire may not hold. Since the Minsk II agreements, fighting has intensified, and a national Day of Silence failed to maintain a ceasefire. In April, 2015, the United Nations human rights office said that it is increasingly worried that the dire humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine and that the situation is likely to deteriorate further due to breaches of the ceasefire.
In 2016, peace negotiations were held, resulting in temporary ceasefires. However, these were violated on an almost daily basis, and no substantial agreements were found. On May 11th the Normandy Quartet agreed on demilitarized zones in Donbas; this was implemented in Donetsk, but only partly enforced in Luhansk. 
The OSCE has a Special Monitoring Mission in the country, and the Security Council is deciding on the possible creation of an international peacekeeping mission under a UN mandate.

Ukraine

Ukraine became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union in 1922, and apart from some years of German occupation, the country remained under Soviet rule until 1991, when the Soviet Union fell apart.

Ukraine’s current conflict is the highest-intensity European war since the 2008 Russo-Georgian war. When the Ukraine government withdrew from its long-term policy toward the EU in 2013, a violent crisis arose between opposition parties, pro-EU-demonstrators, civil society groups, and right-wing militants, on the one side, and the government, on the other. It escalated to a limited war early 2014, killing at least 90 people within three days, and leading to the overthrow of President Yanukovych. Russia then proceeded to annex the Crimean Peninsula, and a full-scale war (over secession and the resources of the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions) broke out between several militant groups (supported by Russia) and the new interim government (backed by Western countries). The fighting is currently focused in the Donbas region, between the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic, on the one hand, and the Ukraine government on the other. Donbas, which is rich in coal and shale gas, has strong ties with Russia and has attempted to proclaim independence. Since the start of the fighting, at least 9,800 people have been killed, as well as 3.9% of the population displaced, with Ukraine and Russia repeatedly blaming each other. The UN and human rights groups have blamed both sides for abductions, torture, committing war crimes, and using banned weapons such as cluster bombs.

In 2016, both Ukraine and Russia increased their military presences at the border between mainland-Ukraine and Crimea in response to several violent incidents. Attacks by separatist militias, as well as pro-government far-right militias, have continued.

The conflict has also increased tensions between many Western countries and Russia, culminating in multiple rounds of mutual sanctions and NATO-led manoeuvres (''Sea Breeze” and ''Rapid Trident 14''). The EU council also established an advisory mission for the civil security sector in Ukraine (EUAM Ukraine) and in March, 2015, the US began delivering $75 million of non-lethal aid and equipment to the government.

July 28, 2018

Lebanese peacebuilder Sawssan Abou-Zahr reviews "The Business Plan for Peace: Building a World Without War" by Scilla Elworthy, founder of Peace Direct.

June 30, 2018

USIP’s Bill Taylor on the importance of a Trump-Putin summit, and the impact it could have on Ukraine, European Elections and the Syrian civil war.

February 21, 2018

Ukrainian hockey ambassador Olga Dolinina was shocked by conflict in her homeland, so she decided to use her sport to help displaced children.

January 27, 2018

Check out our top picks for peace initiatives to keep an eye on this year...

We know that video games are great entertainment, but can they also be used to build peace? Check out the gaming community's answer to war.

Is the world becoming more violent? Are wars increasing? Is there a realistic chance for peace? The answers will surprise you.

Actor Orlando Bloom visited the Ukraine recently as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, and heard young Maxim’s story.

Over 100 journalists were killed in 2015, many were deliberately targeted. With World Press Freedom Day coming up, we look at 5 risking their lives for truth.

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