With the reported fall of the Ukrainian town of Debaltseve, the Minsk II ceasefire looks like little more than a Russian maneuver, one that chips away at Western unity.
From the start, many observers saw Minsk II as only a stopgap measure. Even so, European leaders seemed to cling to hope that the ceasefire could provide a basis for a more comprehensive, permanent solution to the war in eastern Ukraine.
Perhaps it should not be so surprising that Minsk II was so brittle. In retrospect, it seems Moscow was never intent on bargaining in good faith. Ultimately, the ceasefire only handed Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine yet another tactical advantage.
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Michael Cecire is a Black Sea regional analyst and an Associate Scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.