As the European Union considers imposing more sanctions on Russia for its (alleged) involvement in the ongoing Ukraine crisis, there are reports of a draw down of Russian troops. As Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced (via Bloomberg):
According to the latest information from our intelligence unit, 70 percent of Russia’s troops have been recalled across the border,” Poroshenko said today in Kiev. “This gives more hope that the peace initiatives have good prospects.”
A recent ceasefire has been shaky with word of continued shelling and bloodshed threatening to upend the pause brokered in Belarus last week.
Poroshenko, for Ukraine's part, has said he will introduce a bill that will bring greater autonomy to the restive eastern part of the country. This concession would accede to the spirit of the demands laid out by the pro-Russian separatists, but falls short of the actual letter of the demands, namely the federalization of eastern Ukraine, which is somewhere between autonomy and independence. As Fox reported:
The cease-fire agreement, reached in Belarus, 'envisages the restoration and preservation of Ukrainian sovereignty over the entire territory of Donbas, including the part that is temporarily under control of the rebels,' Poroshenko said during a televised Cabinet meeting. 'Ukraine has made no concessions with regards to its territorial integrity.'
With the European Union meeting in Brussels and with their collective finger on a new package of sanctions, we can imagine that this sudden rush of confidence-building will continue at least until the EU delegates go back to their capitals.
Meanwhile, as a peace tenuously holds, Amnesty International has accused both sides of war crimes.