Ukraine Live Day 447: Putin Says “Minsk Process is Moving Forward,” Evidence Says Otherwise

May 10, 2015
Arseny Pavlov, known as "Motorola," a commander of the Russian-backed separatists, appears at the May 9 Victory Day celebration in Donetsk | Ekho Moskvy

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Putin Says “Minsk Process is Moving Forward” But Opposite Is True

At a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that there was “progress” with the Minsk peace deal in Ukraine:

“There is every reason to believe the Minsk process is moving forward, though with problems,” Putin told a joint news conference with Merkel, referring to the peace deal signed in February in the Belarussian capital.

“With all the problems in east Ukraine, it has nevertheless become quieter,” he said, adding that direct dialogue between the Kiev government and the separatists was crucial for peace.

Angela Merkel, however, seemed less enthusiastic in her opinion of the status of the ceasefire. Wall Street Journal reportsd:

“We have sought more and more cooperation in recent years,” Ms. Merkel said of Russia and Germany. “The criminal and illegal annexation of Crimea and the warfare in eastern Ukraine has led to a serious setback for this cooperation.” 

Merkel also pushed back on Putin’s version of history, marked by the Russian celebration of Victory Day on May 9:

The two also sparred over history. Ms. Merkel, after enumerating Nazi crimes, noted that Germans and Eastern Europeans whom the Soviet Union helped free from Nazi dictatorship then were forced to live under Communism. Ms. Merkel, who is 60 years old, spent the first half of her life behind the Iron Curtain, living in East Germany.

“I would like also to recall that the end of World War II did not bring democracy and freedom for all in Europe,” Ms. Merkel said, drawing a tense sigh from Mr. Putin.

The reality, however, is that in the last two weeks there has been more fighting than since the Russian-supported forces in eastern Ukraine captured Debaltsevo. The OSCE has witnessed the ceasefire fray, then simmer, than explode into fragments. Not only is fighting at its fiercest, but weapons like Grad rockets are once again being documented in use for the first time in months.

Here is today’s battle map, tweeted out by the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council — this is progress?

The headquarters of Ukraine’s ATO (anti-terror operation) said today that their positions are still under attack and the Russian-backed militants are not holding to the ceasefire. According to, Russian-backed fighters continued to shell Ukrainian positions near  Shirokino with 120 and 82-mm mortars. Ukrainian positions there have come under fire 14 times, and military casualties are reported. Eslewhere in Donetsk and Lugansk, Ukrainian positions were subjected to grenade launchers, small arms fire, mortars and artillery, according to the Ukrainian military headquarters.

James Miller