[JURIST] Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website] on Sunday expressed [press release] support for a cease-fire in Ukraine's battle against pro-Russian separatists and called for both sides to negotiate a compromise. Following a ceremony commemorating the millions who died following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, Putin publicly announced [AP report] that such a compromise must guarantee the rights of the Russian-speaking residents of eastern Ukraine. On Friday Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko ordered [BBC report] an immediate seven-day cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, in hopes of persuading separatists in the region to lay down their arms. In a statement released by the Kremlin, Putin welcomed the decision to declare a cease-fire, calling "on all parties to the conflict to cease hostilities and sit down at the negotiating table."
The ongoing conflict [BBC timeline] in Ukraine has reinvigorated fears of Cold War Era politics and increased tensions between Russia and the West. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] urged [JURIST report] Ukraine opposition groups in May to "lay down their weapons" and come to a peaceful resolution to the conflict. In April the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] announced [JURIST report] that it has begun preliminary investigations into alleged crimes against humanity perpetrated during the unrest in Ukraine. The month before the UN approved a resolution [JURIST report] invalidating Crimea's [JURIST backgrounder] secession from Ukraine less than a week after the EU imposed sanctions [JURIST reports] on Russia for annexing the region.