Russian President Vladimir Putin has insisted that the Minsk II ceasefire agreement from February 12 is the road to "a final settlement" of the conflict in Ukraine -- and although the truce is shaky, Ukraine and the West have a strong interest in seeing it hold.
The West is not going to enter into a proxy war with Russia -- and Ukraine's best hope is to wind down the war and to use the breathing space for much-needed reform.
Minsk II confirms the military gains Russia has made in Ukraine and gives Moscow plenty of leverage over Kiev. But compared to war, it is the lesser evil.
In fact, the agreement could be turned to Ukraine's advantage, providing the country with the breathing space it urgently needs to enact political and economic changes. A stronger Ukrainian state -- more functional, less corrupt, and better able to deliver to its citizens -- would be much more capable to resist Russian aggression.
It is Ukraine's weakness that has allowed Russia to invade the country in the east. A weak sense of national solidarity and togetherness there, as well as insufficient supervision of the border, allowed unofficial and official Russian troops to enter into the Donbass region. And a badly-trained, badly-equipped and badly-organized army wasn't able to push back.