Kiev Calls For Easter Truce With Pro-Russian Separatists

Ukraine has issued a statement saying it will suspend anti-terrorist operations over Easter weekend. What will happen after is still up in the air.

Kiev Calls For Easter Truce With Pro-Russian Separatists
The New York Times / Mauricio Lima

For most, Easter is a time for baskets full chocolate bunnies and little multi-colored plastic eggs. But for those in Eastern Ukraine, this year's Easter will be a time for relative peace. 

As tensions simmer between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russians separatists, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry has said that their anti-terrorist operation will be suspended for the Easter holiday. (Via RT)

International Business Times reports that a Ukrainian ministry of defense spokeswoman said that "The anti-terrorist operation continues. How long it is going to last, it depends on when the terrorists leave our territory. Due to the Easter holidays and the Geneva agreements, the operation is not in its active phase at the moments."

The Easter truce announcement comes just after talks in Geneva Thursday between the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and the European Union. The world powers discussed an agreement that would quell tension in the region. (Via Bloomberg)

NPR reports the agreement made Thursday "would give the regions more autonomy [and] offer equal status to the Russian language — which are two of the things the rebels have been asking for from the beginning."

So what can we expect in Eastern Europe once Easter is over?

Well, Ukraine's foreign minister told the BBC that it depends on the separatists, saying "the security services would resume military action if the separatists continued to occupy government offices."

But as Al Jazeera reports, separatists occupying government buildings have said they will not leave until the acting government in Kiev resigns, which they perceive as being anti-Russian even with the agreements discussed in Geneva.

Deutsche Welle reports that locals in the region are divided on whether they want to come under Moscow's authority or not though, with some messages stating "We stand for a Donetsk in a federal Ukraine," and others calling for "a return to Russia."

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Ukraine's foreign minister said what happens next in the standoff is up to Moscow. "We want to avoid bloodshed and casualties. It will depend on the reaction of the people who illegally occupy buildings and it is the Russian responsibility to deliver the de-escalation message to those people to avoid any confrontation."

The U.S. has threatened more sanctions if Russia doesn't abide by it's part of the Geneva agreement, which includes refraining from any more violence or provocative actions.