A new cease-fire agreement was implemented in Ukraine Monday, aiming to stem the escalating clashes between Ukrainian fighters and Russian-backed separatists on the ground. Despite hopes that this planned effort would calm recent tensions, there were a reported 200 cease-fire violations on Tuesday night alone. 
A previous cease-fire in the country, brought into force in 2015, has been tested repeatedly since Jan. 29, when hostilities flared up after Russian-backed separatists of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR) allegedly attacked Ukrainian positions with heavy weapons.
These weapons – grad rockets, tanks and 120mm mortar rounds – are banned under the Minsk II cease-fire agreement , which is now widely considered redundant on the ground in the city of Avdiivka. 
Last week, Putin signed a decree recognizing passports issued by separatist authorities in the region. This decision, taken for supposedly “humanitarian grounds,” effectively means that Russia has withdrawn from the Minsk agreement.
Within the first three days of …