Despite accusations of sporadic shelling coming from both sides under Ukraine’s shaky truce, in Donetsk members of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic found time to mark the region’s WWll liberation from Nazi occupation.
Monday’s rally which was attended by an estimated 3,000 people, was imbued with today’s nationalism.
If the current ceasefire holds a political solution has to be found but in Donetsk that means nothing less than independence.
The prime minister of self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko made the point:
“No one talked in Minsk about us being part of Ukraine. We fully understand the world community and international law are not able to recognise it right away but the process has begun.”
Meanwhile in the port city of Mariupol Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was clear independence would not be on the table when the sides resume talks in Minsk.
Speaking in English Poroshenko said:
“The question of territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of my country is not the matter of negotiation. Point number one. Point number two, we should be responsible and understand that it is impossible just to win the conflict only by military means. The more we increase the pressure, the more the Russian troops are on our territory.”
On the international front the EU has agreed to impose a new package of sanctions against Moscow which it accuses of continuing to destabilise eastern Ukraine.
But the 28-member bloc is being deliberately vague about when they will come into force, to allow time they say, to assess the implementation of the ceasefire.