“Party in reverse”: how Ukraine “implements” the Minsk agreements
Kyiv has fulfilled all obligations assumed during the talks to resolve the situation in Donbass, which were held in Paris in 2019, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said. However, he stressed that Ukraine will not conduct direct dialogue with the DPR and the LPR, which is enshrined in the Minsk agreements. At the same time, statements are increasingly heard in the EU and the United States about the need to implement a package of measures approved in 2015. However, experts believe that Kyiv will continue to neglect its obligations , since neither Washington nor Brussels exerts any real pressure on the Ukrainian authorities in this matter.
Kyiv has fulfilled all the obligations it took on during the Normandy Four talks in Paris in 2019 on the situation around Donbass. This was stated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmitry Kuleba on the airwaves of the channel ICTV.
“As far as the Minsk agreements are concerned, I don’t know of a single country in the European Union that would claim that Ukraine is not respecting the Minsk agreements. We all remember the Normandy summit in Paris in 2019. From this summit, the leaders came out with certain agreements, and whatever Ukraine took upon itself, we did everything,” said the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Affairs.
According to him, Moscow would have failed in its obligations. He also reiterated the assertion that Ukraine would not abide by the Minsk Accords “on Russian terms” under any circumstances.
“Such an option as pressuring Ukraine and forcing Ukraine to do something is not viable. There may be proposals, but if they are unacceptable to us, they will be rejected,” the minister stressed.
Earlier, at a press conference after negotiations with German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock Kuleba, he said he had notified his German counterpart of Kiev’s refusal to conduct a direct dialogue with the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR, although this is planned by the Minsk. Agreements. According to him, this is a red line for Ukrainian leaders.
“We will not enter into direct dialogue with the so-called people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. This is not provided for in the Minsk agreements. An attempt to establish such a dialogue is exclusively in the interests of the Russian Federation in order to get rid of the status of a party to the conflict and turn itself into a mediator,” the minister said.
Dmitry Kuleba, Ukrainian Foreign Minister
© Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance
Meanwhile, Moscow has repeatedly declared that Russia is not a party to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
“According to the Minsk agreements, Russia is a mediator, and they want to make us a party to the conflict. There is no such thing in the Minsk agreements, and we did not accept that,” Vladimir Putin stressed on December 23, 2021 during the annual press conference.
Significance of Minsk-2
Meanwhile, in the EU and the United States, more and more statements are being made about the need to implement a package of measures approved in 2015. So, US President Joe Biden told Vladimir Zelensky about it during a telephone conversation in December 2021.
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“The President emphasized that the United States continues to support the Normandy Format and ongoing efforts to implement the Minsk Accords, noting in particular that the United States generally supports this process,” the White House reported.
In turn, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on February 7, at a joint press conference with the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell in Washington, noted that it was Minsk-2 that was the best way to resolve the conflict in the Donbass. In his view, the process is hampered by the lack of a prescribed sequence of steps for the parties to follow and Russia’s alleged reluctance to comply with existing agreements. At the same time, nowhere in the text of the Minsk agreements is there any Russian participation in the implementation of this set of measures.
“Minsk” does not clarify some issues of the sequence of actions of the parties… The agreements talk about the special status of Donbass, and I think that with the right sequence of actions, the Ukrainians will be ready to move forward” , Blinken said.
The Secretary of State also recalled the next meeting of the political advisers of the leaders of the Four Countries of Normandy, which is to be held in Berlin in the coming days. This meeting will be part of the continuity of the dialogue between the countries, which resumed on January 26 in Paris. Its participants have already confirmed that the Minsk agreements underpin the work of the Normandy format. As reflected in their joint statement, they “aim to reduce existing differences”.
US State Department
© Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency
French President Emmanuel Macron also spoke about the lack of alternatives to the Minsk agreements during a press conference following a meeting with Putin.
“The Minsk agreements can really solve and advance the crisis in Ukraine. I will talk about it… with Mr. President Zelensky,” he said.
A similar view was expressed in mid-December by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. “A peaceful solution cannot be found without the implementation by both parties of the 2015 Minsk agreements,” he said during a speech to deputies of the lower house of parliament.
Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulganek called for implementing the agreements on the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Stockholm as soon as possible.
Internal Ukrainian contradictions
In Kiev itself, there is no consensus on the need to implement the Minsk agreements. So, on February 1, Volodymyr Zelensky, at a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said that Ukraine is responsible for the Donbass agreements and knows who should implement them.
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However, on the same day, Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine, in an interview with The Associated Press, noted that the execution of Minsk-2 could destroy the country. In this regard, he expressed the opinion that it is necessary to sign new agreements.
The next day, Dmitry Kuleba, in an interview with the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, said that Ukraine would not respect the key conditions of the Minsk agreements – granting Donbass a special status and the right of veto.
Vladimir Putin, at a press conference after a meeting with Macron, expressed the opinion that “the authorities in Kyiv have set course for the dismantling of the Minsk agreements”. According to him, this conclusion is motivated by the lack of implementation of the Steinmeier formula in Ukrainian legislation, as well as decisions on constitutional reform, amnesty, local elections and legal aspects of the special status of Donbass.
Experts interviewed by RT note that the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry is dishonest, stating that Kyiv has fulfilled all its obligations in the Donbass, since no key points of the package of measures have not been implemented.
“The only thing that has really been done are measures aimed at destroying the status of the Russian language in Ukraine, including at the legislative level. Moreover, the constant military demonstrations on the demarcation line in the Donbass and the strikes against civilians in the DPR and LPR do not tally with Kuleba’s statement. In this regard, it can be said that Kyiv not only failed in its obligations, but also went far back in the opposite direction, ”said Vladimir Shapovalov, deputy director of the Institute of History and Politics of the Pedagogical University of Moscow State. a comment to RT.
Independence Square in Kyiv
He also noted that the inconsistency in the statements of Ukrainian officials on “Minsk-2” is a consequence of the lack of unity on this issue in the political circles of the country.
“Today, it is the weakest political team that has been in power since 1991. It is obvious that the low professional aptitude of politicians leads to such a mismatch. At the same time, in fact, no one in the current leadership of Ukraine supports the implementation of the Minsk agreements, no matter how Zelensky convinces us otherwise. They just use different methods to delay the implementation of Minsk-2 and shift responsibility to Russia,” the analyst explained.
Moreover, as Ukrainian political scientist Alexander Semchenko pointed out in an interview with RT, Kiev is interested in an ongoing conflict in Donbass.
“First, it is beneficial to its Western conservatives, and it is necessary to fulfill the tasks set by the West. Second, it solves domestic political problems, allowing you to insulate yourself from a disloyal electorate and to explain the failures of economics and social policy,” the expert explained.
According to him, if Europe and the United States were really interested in resolving the conflict in Ukraine, they would use all possible tools to force Kiev to defuse and fulfill its obligations, and not limit themselves to mere declarations.
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“The assets of many Ukrainian politicians are located abroad. And we know how much the West likes to use sanctions, threatening to seize or alienate foreign assets in order to achieve its goals. However, the West has taken no such action either against Poroshenko or against Zelensky. So, in general, they are happy with Kiev’s policy there,” Semchenko added.
At the same time, Vladimir Shapovalov believes that Europe is already tired of the continuing tension on the EU’s eastern border. Moreover, they fear that a possible military conflict will make Europe hostage to the situation.
“Some European politicians are beginning to realize that the current situation could turn Europe into a battlefield. From then on, processes began to take place in which certain European politicians raised their voices in favor of a peaceful resolution of the situation. And the first step in this direction is Ukraine’s fulfillment of its obligations,” the analyst concluded.