Name? Leonid Kuchma
Westphalian identity? Ukrainian
Why is he in the news? Yesterday, the latest ceasefire agreement between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels in the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine began. One day later, presidential envoy and former President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma stepped down from his post as Ukrainian representative in a trilateral contact group between the Ukrainian government, the separatists and the OSCE.
Why do we care? This ceasefire is only the latest after almost two dozen attempts in the last six years. The Ukranian government never stated a reason for Kuchma’s departure but we think it might be because he does not have high hopes for this one to last; or he is just too old by now? Hours after it came into place, reports already claimed minor incidents breaking the ceasefire.
Why should you care? This is one of many conflicts and since its emergence “only” 13000 people have died. In times of Covid-19, a relatively low number? So no real reason to care we assume. At the same time, it is a country’s struggle for effective control over its territory and on the other side, a part of the population asking for self-determination. Should count for something, right?
Who else cares? Macron and Merkel. The two European leaders brokered the last deal and expressed hope for this ceasefire to last as well as for a referendum about the region’s fate to happen. Ultimately, Minsks deal of 2014 is widely regarded as the best possible solution, but it has also been on the table since 2014…
Any further comments? Kuchma returned to the discussions when President Zelensky was inaugurated after previously stepping down from the format. With Zelensky, all participants gathered hope for progress as expressed during a summit last year in Paris between Zelensky, Merkel, Macron and Putin. But after one year in office and promising exchanges of prisoners between the two conflict parties, Zelensky has not achieved anything meaningful.