Kiev continues to undermine the Minsk Agreements
The Minsk Agreements on the settlement in Ukraine were signed on 12 February, 2015. Unfortunately, there has been little progress in their implementation primarily due to Kiev’s unwillingness to fulfil its obligations and the inability of the Ukrainian authorities to deal with the country’s socioeconomic problems or to promote national accord and reconciliation. As long as shooting continues in Donbass, Kiev tries to divert public attention from the alleged “achievements” of the Maidan victors and request additional funds from their Western sponsors.
Here are the examples of the Minsk agreements being grossly violated by Kiev:
1. It is clearly said in the Minsk Agreements that heavy weapons must be withdrawn from the contact line. However Ukrainian armed forces didn’t stop shelling Donetsk and Lugansk, including the use of weapons that are supposed to have been withdrawn. This leads to civilian casualties and the destruction of property.
It is inappropriate to blame Lugansk and Donetsk for the escalation of tensions, as it is Ukrainian armed units who are in control of the buffer zone and are moving dangerous heavy weapons there. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine has many times reported the concentration of Ukrainian forces at the contact line and the deployment of Ukrainian armed forces in Pavlopol, Pishchevik and Zaitsevo. On 26 February, 2016 OSCE observers reported that Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers controlled part of Shirokino in violation of the demilitarisation agreement. Operations of the Ukrainian Armed Forces run contrary to the logic of the Minsk, resulting in the dangerous reduction of the distance between the conflicting parties.
2. On the day of the beginning of the withdrawal of artillery Kiev had to engage in a dialogue, starting consultations with Donetsk and Lugansk representatives on the modalities of the elections to be held in April on the basis of the Ukrainian law and under the OSCE oversight. The second date outlined in the document is 12 March, i.e. a month after the signing of the Minsk agreements Kiev was required to enact a special status law by adopting a resolution designating the territory that this law was supposed to cover. This hasn’t been done. A law was passed, the territories marked, but the law said that it didn’t apply to Donetsk and Lugansk.
3. The Minsk agreements clearly say that elections should be held in accordance with the OSCE criteria, one of which is to ensure that no one will be subjected to intimidation, harassment, etc. The statement by the Kiev authorities on "elections first, then amnesty" constitute a serious distortion of the sequence and logic of what was really agreed. In accordance with the OSCE elections criteria, the amnesty should be granted before the elections.
It is crucial to understand at long last that the only way to settle the Ukrainian crisis is by implementing the Minsk Agreements and a direct dialogue between the members of the Contact Group and its subgroups supported by a strong international assistance. If the West doesn’t change its policy of justifying Kiev’s violation of Minsk, a new wave of escalation in Eastern Ukraine might be inevitable.