On September 8, 2015, former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma arrived in Minsk. He travelled to the Belarusian capital, as Ukraine's representative to the Trilateral Contact Group that seeks to end the conflict in Donbas.
DONETSK -- I don't know how the landscape around Zenit looked back when the military position was first established, but these days it surely resembles the set of an apocalypse movie. Only this is real, not cardboard-made. The few standing buildings look like a poorly played Tetris game, with huge holes between their bricks. The fields like an old junkyard with rusty damaged armored vehicles and car skeletons. The ground appears like it came down with a bad case of chickenpox, all littered with craters from Grad missiles and mortar rounds. The trees have no branches, their arms amputated by shrapnel.
The Russian president repeated his claim that Ukraine is "being managed from the outside."
DONETSK -- "Of course we want to stay in Ukraine. We were, are and want to be Ukrainians. But we just want peace, and if it will be different, it does not matter, because we just want to have bright blue sky and no shelling. I want to go back home, not to Russia, but home."
He said 15 fighters and civilians had been killed as a result of shelling on rebel territory and more than 900 miners had
The houses in the center of town had just been given fresh, clean plastic siding to impress foreign visitors for UEFA 2012, a soccer championship. Proud locals directed tourists to the gleaming new stadium where Donetsk Shakhtar played.
At this point it is important to remember that the Russians have veto power at the United Nations and if they had chosen they could have vetoed all UN-imposed sanctions on Iran. They did not do that.
In the midst of war and heightened nationalism in Ukraine, many demonstrators who participated in protests at Maidan Square just one year ago are gripped with a profound sense of shock and wonder what has happened to their country.
In another of his pleasant encounters with world leaders, Russian president Vladimir Putin went to Egypt on February 8, staying until February 10.
Bildt: It is also often argued that the prospect of Georgia joining NATO was one of the things that triggered the Russo-Georgian