The region of Ukraine disputed between forces in Kiev and those looking for independence has already suffered 18 months of death and destruction.  The city of Donetsk that previously had a population of 1.1 million today barely reaches 600,000.  Mostly those remaining are criminal gangs or pensioners.  The economic situation is a disaster.

This week talks took place in Minsk, Belarus between representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in which the parties agreed to finally implement by the 1st of September the Minsk agreement that was negotiated months back in February this year.  In other words, the new agreement means to stop breaking the old one.

The date coincides with the start of the new school year and both the Kiev authorities and opposition representatives of the separatist region must provide lists of all the educational establishments on the conflict border line.

The representative of the opposition group, Vladislav Deinego, said, “There was a proposal to end shelling from September 1. Today there is a hope that from September 2 we will succeed fully in ending the firing. At the moment all sides have expressed the intention of abiding by this idea.”

The next meeting of the trilateral contact group will take place on the 9th of September to evaluate the cease fire.