Putin just got exactly what he wanted in eastern Ukraine

According to Poroshenko, the three-year stipulation is necessary to ensure adequate constitutional reform, after which he expects Donetsk and Luhansk to somehow return to the fold of the Ukrainian government. “During this time we will be able to introduce the issue of profound decentralization which must also provide for respective amendments to the Constitution,” Poroshenko said. “There is nothing more important for us than peace.” He also called for local elections in November to determine who will control the self-ruled areas.

Among the rebels, the provisions of the self-rule law have already garnered mixed reviews, and it’s uncertain how they will be implemented. Andriy Purgin, first deputy prime minister of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, told RIA Novosti that the entirety of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts must be awarded self-rule, not just those areas currently under rebel control. Igor Plotnitsky, prime minister of the separatist Luhansk People’s Republic, said the new law signals “the first chance for a peaceful settlement.”

Meanwhile, shelling in Donetsk killed six people on Monday, and Ukranian media reported skirmishes between Russian-backed militias and unspecified “local groups of terrorists.” This is what the State Department means when it says the ceasefire is “mostly holding,” and it paints a pretty clear picture of what the next few years in eastern Ukraine may look like.

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