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The Daily Vertical: A War Of Choice Continues (Transcript)

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

Three years ago, the guns in Ukraine were supposed to fall silent.

Three years ago, the killing and the aggression were supposed to stop.

Three years ago today, the Minsk II cease-fire was signed.

But the guns in the Donbas have not fallen silent.

WATCH: Today's Daily Vertical

In the last day alone, Kyiv authorities say pro-Moscow separatists have launched no less than nine attacks on Ukrainian forces.

And the killing has not stopped.

In fact, the war in the Donbas has claimed more than 10,000 lives and wounded tens of thousands more.

And it has resulted in nearly 2 million people being displaced.

Three years after Minsk, Russia's war in the Donbas goes on.

And amidst all the politics, all the diplomacy, all the spin, all the disinformation, and all the posturing; amidst all the violated cease-fires, all the finger-pointing, and all the Normandy Format meetings; amidst all of this, it'ss important to remember one thing: This is a war of choice.

If Vladimir Putin had not chosen to make the decisions he made back in 2014, there would have been no need for a Minsk cease-fire on February 12, 2015.

And if Putin had not chosen to continue that war even after the cease-fire that was signed, the killing in the Donbas would not be continuing today.

This is Putin's war, and it is only continuing because Putin chooses to continue it.

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