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Facing a Fragile Ceasefire

If the Deal Doesn't Hold, Don't Arm Ukraine

Newly mobilized soldiers take part in training in Ukraine, February 13, 2015. Valentyn Ogirenko / Courtesy Reuters

Despite the promises of the ceasefire brokered on February 12 in Belarus to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine, it could fail like the one before it in September 2014. Though the agreement will take effect on Saturday, already, intense fighting has been reported in strategic towns like Debaltseve. If the peace deal is not honored, the administration of President Barack Obama will then be under even greater pressure to send lethal weapons to the government in Kiev, since the separatists in the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine have been making headway on the battlefield thanks to Russia’s supply of troops and weapons. Although the precise numbers remain in dispute (and notwithstanding the Kremlin’s steadfast and now comical denial), regular Russian troops have joined the fray. Moscow is also sending increasingly sophisticated weaponry to rebel forces.

Given that Russia has stepped up its intervention,

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