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5 Years After Minsk 2 Agreement, What Has Been Achieved? Spoiler: Nothing

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5 Years After Minsk 2 Agreement, What Has Been Achieved? Spoiler: Nothing

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This text is based on the article by Asd.news

February 12th, 2020 is the 5th anniversary of the signing of the Minsk-2 Agreement. As such it is appropriate to go through their points to see how and what was loudly called the “Set of measures to implement the Minsk Agreements”:

1. Immediate and full ceasefire in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine and its strict fulfilment as of 00: 00 midnight EET on 15 February 2015.

As its apparent, the fire was not ceased in February, or a month later, or even a year later. It continues even now. Numerous ceasefires with pathetic names did not work.

2. Pull-out of all heavy weapons by both sides to equal distance with the aim of creation of a security zone on minimum 50 kilometres (31 mi) apart for artillery of 100mm calibre or more, and a security zone of 70 kilometres (43 mi) for multiple rocket launchers (MRLS) and 140 kilometres (87 mi) for MLRS Tornado-S, Uragan, Smerch, and Tochka U tactical missile systems:

– for Ukrainian troops: from the actual line of contact;

– for armed groups from the respective regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine: from the contact line according to the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014.

The withdrawal of the above heavy weapons should have begun no later than the second day after the ceasefire and be completed within 14 days.

The OSCE was to facilitate this process with the support of the Trilateral Contact Group.

In fact, the withdrawal of the troops turned out to be fictitious, since in the following months and years, both sides actively used heavy artillery and even MLRS. Often, troops were withdrawn in front of the camera and for the eyes of the OSCE, after which the equipment made a circle and returned to its previous or reserve positions. Heavy weapons are still actively used. It should be noted that MLRS and short-range ballistic missile system were actually used somewhat less frequently than before Minsk-2.

3. Effective monitoring and verification of ceasefire regime and pullout of heavy weapons by OSCE will be provided from the first day of pullout, using all necessary technical means such as satellites, drones, radio-location systems etc.

Since the fire did not stop, there was nothing to verify. The OSCE was able to verify the continuation of hostilities and shelling using available technical means.

4. On the first day after the pullout a dialogue is to start on modalities of conducting local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian legislation and the Law of Ukraine “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts,” and also about the future of these districts based on the above-mentioned law.

Without delays, but no later than 30 days from the date of signing of this document, a resolution has to be approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, indicating the territory which falls under the special regime in accordance with the law “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts,” based in the line set up by the Minsk Memorandum as of 19 September 2014.

The dialogue quickly transformed into two disjointed and independent monologues. The formal law on Donbass was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada [Ukrainian Parliament], but its content was, in its entirety, contrary to what was signed in Minsk.

5. Provide pardon and amnesty by way of enacting a law that forbids persecution and punishment of persons in relation to events that took place in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine.

Ukraine has officially refused to pass a law on amnesty for the DPR and LPR and is constantly threatening to persecute people associated with them.

6. Provide release and exchange of all hostages and illegally held persons, based on the principle of “all for all”. This process has to end – at the latest – on the fifth day after the withdrawal (of weapons).

This process is not ensured even 5 years after the withdrawal was to happen. The complete all for all exchange is yet to happen. Partial exchanges of prisoners of war and detainees took place. In implementing this paragraph, the parties advanced further than in others, but even in this case it was not possible to complete it in 5 years.

7. Provide safe access, delivery, storage and distribution of humanitarian aid to the needy, based on an international mechanism.

The main supply and delivery of humanitarian aid to the LPR and the DPR continues to come from the territory of Russia without any international mechanisms. Ukraine continues the economic blockade and the blocking of humanitarian aid for the LPR and DPR.

8. Define the modalities of a full restoration of social and economic connections, including social transfers, such as payments of pensions and other payments (income and revenue, timely payment of communal bills, restoration of tax payments within the framework of Ukrainian legal field).

With this aim, Ukraine will restore management over the segment of its banking system in the districts affected by the conflict, and possibly, an international mechanism will be established to ease such transactions.

Over 5 years, the economic ties between the LPR and the DPR with Ukraine have not recovered, but are, instead, almost entirely severed. The republics left the hryvnia and entered the ruble zone. Most of the operating enterprises are reoriented to the Russian Federation, tax relations with Ukraine are broken, the legislation is focused on the Russian Federation. Ukrainian banks were ousted from the Donbass. If anything is facilitated, it is a matter of transfers to Russia.

9. Restore control of the state border to the Ukrainian government in the whole conflict zone, which has to start on the first day after the local election and end after the full political regulation (local elections in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts based on the law of Ukraine and Constitutional reform) by the end of 2015, on the condition of fulfillment of Point 11 – in consultations and in agreement with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group.

Ukraine has not received any control over the border, as it has not complied with the previous 8 points. Point 11 was also not implemented, and consultations with the LPR and the DPR did not even begin in principle.

10. Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.

No separation of forces happened – on both sides citizens of other states continue to take part in the hostilities. Moreover, no disarmament has occurred.

11. Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with a new constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralisation (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts), and also approval of permanent legislation on the special status of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in accordance with the measures spelt out in the attached footnote, by the end of 2015.

DPR and LPR have not received a permanent status in the Ukrainian Constitution. The decentralization law turned out to be completely different, and it simply profaned the Minsk agreements. The new authorities of Ukraine said that they would not accept anything of the sort either.

12. Based on the Law of Ukraine “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts”, questions related to local elections will be discussed and agreed upon with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group. Elections will be held in accordance with relevant OSCE standards and monitored by OSCE/ODIHR. Elections will be held in compliance with relevant OSCE standards and monitored by the OSCE / ODIHR.

Discussions never even started. Elections to the LPR and DPR were held independently without Ukrainian parties and according to local law.

13. Intensify the work of the Trilateral Contact Group including through the establishment of working groups on the implementation of relevant aspects of the Minsk agreements. They will reflect the composition of the Trilateral Contact Group. They were to reflect the composition of the Trilateral Contact Group.

Meetings of working groups in Minsk had a near-zero result.

Note 1 Such measures in accordance with the Law “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts” include the following:

– Freedom from punishment, harassment, and discrimination of persons connected with the events that took place in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts;

The amnesty was officially denied.

– Right of language self-determination;

Ukraine adopted the most Russophobic and discriminatory law against Russian-speaking law, which was condemned even by the Venice Commission.

– Participation of local self-government in the appointment of the heads of prosecutors’ offices and courts in the particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts;

All this is happening separately from Ukrainian legislation.

– The possibility for central executive bodies to conclude agreements with relevant local authorities on economic, social, and cultural development of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts;

Since Ukraine refuses to communicate with the DPR and LPR, there are no opportunities in this direction.

– The state will provide support for the socio-economic development of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts;

Ukraine provides no support whatsoever to the DPR and LPR.

– Assistance from central executive bodies for cross-border cooperation by particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts with regions of the Russian Federation;

Cross-border cooperation between the LPR and the DPR is carried out without Ukraine.

– The freedom to create people’s militia units by decision of local councils to maintain public order in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts;

The people’s militia was created in the form of the 1st and 2nd army corps. In fact, only the handle was changed. The army and the militia were simply renamed the people’s militia. But formally, this clause was fulfilled in both the LPR and the DPR.

– The powers of local council deputies and officials, elected in early elections, appointed by the Verkhovna Rada according to this law, cannot be prematurely terminated;

Elections in this form simply did not take place.

In general, it is difficult to find something farther from reality than the Minsk agreements – what happened and is happening is fundamentally different from what was written in the points of Minsk-2, which were agreed after painful negotiations 5 years ago.

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