Violence broke out in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, the day before the scheduled peace talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French Preisdent Francois Hollande, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
Specifically, Russian-backed rebels and pro-Kieve forces launched a rocket attack on a government aerodrome in government-held Kramatorsk, affecting nearby civilian neighborhoods as well. “It shook the entire city. The city is in panic. We haven’t had fighting here. Now there is no telling what’s ahead,” expressed Svetlana, a Kramatorsk resident. At least seven civilians and four soldiers were killed, local media report.
This violence, locals fear, may undermine the coming peace talks. Vadym Karasiov, a Ukrainian political analyst, cautions that especially with this violence, a “global solution to this deepening crisis” is unlikely to occur. Both President Obama and Chancellor Merkel agree that a military solution is not an option, although President Obama is keeping the idea of arming Ukraine if diplomacy fails.
Contributor: Elaine Chen