‘Ukraine truce depends only on political will from both sides’

‘Ukraine truce depends only on political will from both sides’
As the ceasefire in Ukraine gets off to a shaky start, the only way to rebuild the billions of dollars of damage in the nation's east is for the EU and Russia to work together, Lode Vanoust, former MP and deputy speaker of the Belgium parliament, told RT.

RT:First off, Kiev has now agreed to what appears to be a major concession, decentralization of power, which wasn’t even on the negotiating table a long time ago. Why is it making this concession?

Lode Vanoust: It is of course always a complex whole of reasons why these things happen. First of all the total over-estimation of the Kiev regime of their own military capacities, and combined with it a complete under-estimation of the resilience of the resistance by the ethnic Russians in the east of Ukraine. Then there is also the element that the right-wing, the extremist elements within the regime, are becoming more and more of an international embarrassment and probably they got their orders. Because at this moment the Ukrainian regime is just doing what its being told by the EU, by the US, and by NATO. And apparently they have been told to back off for the moment, but how long it lasts remains to be seen.

RT:Both sides agreed to the ceasefire; that was the moment that brought great hope and promise around the region and beyond it to be fair. Just two days in, though, we have heard about a possible fatality, several injuries, renewed shelling. Is this truce really under serious threat of falling through, or are these inevitable hostilities that are going to continue for a short while after?

LV: I think this is completely inevitable, just given for example the practical matter of the lack of central command on both sides. This is inevitable that these things will occur. Whether that will be a reason for the collapse of this truce – it does not depend on the incidents themselves. It depends on the sincerity of both sides to keep the truce. That’s the main element, a political element. Not whether there are incidents. There will be incidents, there will be even more but if you look at history at these kinds of truces, it is not the fact that there are incidents; it is the political will that’s behind it whether to keep it or not keep it, which will decide whether a truce like this will hold.

Anti-government rebels stand on a road in the village of Novokaterinovka, some 50 km southeast of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on September 4, 2014. (AFP Photo / Anatoliy Boiko)

RT:Now prior to this truce, we’ve seen months of violence that have absolutely devastated this region. We’re just showing our viewers some recent pictures of the international airport in Donetsk, a Ukrainian tank rolling through the grounds there. Now we’re talking about a building that cost half a billion US dollars to construct. How is Ukraine going to pay for the very expensive rebuilding of infrastructure in the region?

LV: Of course Ukraine itself, I mean the regime in Kiev, is totally incapable of paying for such a rebuilding of the whole country by the way – not just the east of Ukraine. And if this will be done in a credible way that’s sustainable, it can only be done by a common effort from Russia and the EU together. Any other way will not keep.

RT:Most people involved in this are hoping the peace plan can somehow progress, that we will see peace long-term. How do you see that happening? Is there any way this can be implemented?

LV: Of course nobody can foresee the future, not even experts like me. You should always take that with a grain of salt, this kind of analysis, and I really hope that I’m wrong on this one, but so far it does not look like a very stable situation. If you see the attitude of NATO, they just see it as too good an opportunity to revamp their credibility and make the EU member states build up their defense budgets again. But you never know; the other side is still Russia. This is not just Libya or Syria, this is another matter altogether. So you never know. But so far it does not look that good. But hey, if I’m seeing I’m wrong on this in a few months’ time, I would be happy to concede.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.