"Peace" in Ukraine looks a lot like war.
About 4,700 people have been killed in fighting between Ukraine and Russian-backed militants — Euronews says a quarter of those deaths have come after a cease-fire agreement in September.
Despite gains by Ukraine's armed forces, Russian militants still control Donetsk and Luhansk, major cities in the country's east. And that's where fighting in recent months has focused. (Image via Google)
Though as we noted Friday, the weekend did bring a positive development: Ukraine's biggest prisoner swap yet. (Video via Al Jazeera)
“As the president and as an ordinary citizen my heart is full of joy," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told newly freed prisoners, filmed by Sky News. "As promised you’ll be able to celebrate New Year with your families and military friends. That’s what we’ve been waiting for so long."
Vladimir Putin had dreamt of restoring Novorossiya, something The Guardian describes as "a historically fictitious pseudo-state." It would basically encompass Russian speaking peoples in the east and south of Ukraine. But now Putin has other concerns.
"Plummeting oil prices backing President Vladimir Putin into a corner," Fox Business reported.
Russia's ruble crisis and an economic crash brought on by illegal maneuvering in Ukraine has put dreams of a "New Russia" on hold.
And actually, Putin's attempt to swallow Ukraine has only pushed it further away. In 2012, only one in five Ukrainians supported joining NATO. This summer, that had support from about half of Ukrainians surveyed. And Tuesday, Ukraine voted away its neutral status on NATO.
This video includes images from Getty Images and music from Chris Zabriskie CC BY 4.0.