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 Putin used Minsk to make the West put pressure on Ukraine, - Wall Street Journal

As bad deals go, it’s hard to do worse than the “Minsk II” cease-fire signed in February between Kyiv and Moscow. First the Kremlin reneged on its promises to stop fighting by Russian forces and Kremlin-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine. Now Kyiv’s attempts to implement its half of the deal are sparking a political crisis among the good guys in this fight.

As reported by Censor.NET citing ZN, this is stated in a Wall Street Journal editorial, adding that the increase in tension was clear after Monday's grenade attack outside the Parliament building in Kyiv. The attack appears to be an isolated incident, but it highlights the extent to which Kyiv is struggling to maintain law and order as nationalist discontent rises and the government fights a war that the Minsk agreement was supposed to have ended.

Read more: Moscow continues to incite violence in Ukraine, providing separatists with personnel and equipment, - NATO Secretary General

As reported, the attack, allegedly carried out by a member of a Ukrainian paramilitary group, happened at a protest against a constitutional amendment that would devolve more power to local governments. The idea isn't controversial, and it was a condition of the agreement that five political parties reached last year to form the current governing coalition. Minsk II requires Kyiv to legislate devolution before the end of the year.

The problem is that Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko is under pressure from his Western allies to abide by Minsk even as Russia's President Vladimir Putin violates it. Mr. Poroshenko's critics object to amending the constitution during a war and say the amendment as written risks giving too much autonomy to Donetsk and Luhansk, the eastern regions occupied by Russian-sponsored rebels.

See more: Militants used heavy weapons first time in last four days, - ATO spokesman. MAP

Mr. Poroshenko's coalition has started to fracture, with the smallest of the five parties in the government withdrawing Tuesday. The remaining parties still enjoy a majority, so a collapse isn't imminent. But the episode illustrates the extent to which Mr. Poroshenko is paying a mounting political price for being the only leader honoring his end of the bargain.

Meanwhile, Mr. Putin's cease-fire violations go unpunished, as the U.S. and Europe stall on providing Kyiv with lethal aid that would impose higher costs on rebel incursions. The European Union this week agreed to extend its sanctions on Russia for another six months only after hemming and hawing over the possibility of a shorter term. This cease-fire has a winner, and it's not what remains of a free and democratic Ukraine.
 
 
 
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