Pavel Klimkin after the meeting with the “Normandy Four” stated about the freezing of the Minks Agreements.
Originally appeared at Rusplt, translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront
The attempt to compel official Kiev to respect the rights of the Russian speaking population of the Ukraine through the Minsk Agreements looks like a total failure. Moscow’s and her Normandy Four partners’ efforts remain in vain. There will be no amnesty; elections in the Donbas scheduled for June will not be held which means that the conflict in the Southeast will remain simmering indefinitely. This situation sits well with the new leadership in the Ukraine, as it prolongs its existence. In Petro Poroshenko’s government, they prefer not to think about the distance future. For their part, the leaders of the Novorussian republics, out of necessity, are ready to defend the rights of Russians with force.
After the 12th round of talks with the heads of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Normandy Four, which was held on May 11 in Berlin, it became clear that the Minsk Agreements are a “dead document”. Regardless of Sergei Lavrov’s active consultations before the meeting with his counterpart from Germany, as well as with his counterpart from France, the results of the talks were disappointing. No serious decisions in the course of three-hour long discussions were taken. With the end result, the negotiation participants even refused a joint final statement. There was nothing to announce. Each expressed themselves separately.
If the virtuosos of diplomacy, the heads of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Germany and France, tried to save face in front of a bad game and tried to find at least something positive, then the Ukrainian minister of Foreign Affairs Pavel Klimkin cut the plain truth and directly foretold the coming freezing of the Minsk Agreements. He explained that none of the main issues were resolved. “With regret, disagreements on key points lead to the fact that the Minsk process may be frozen”, admitted the minister. We will point out that the Ukrainian side itself actually froze the agreements. The amnesty, the special status of the Donbas and the elections were supposed to be resolved in 2015. Only Kiev’s sabotage forced the postponement to 2016. However, there are now doubts concerning this deadline.
Not having any desire or obviously the possibility to decisively pass the adoption of the laws by the Verkhovna Rada, guaranteeing the rights of Russians, Kiev took the road of prolonging negotiations, referring to the inability to provide security during the elections in the Donbas. To be specific, even at a minimum, the fulfillment of the agreement on the cessation of fire from the DPR and LPR side, the Ukrainian side answers with regular provocative bombardments, which the foreign ministry uses to justify its positions at the restless contact line, but maintains that on the political front to talk about the process is too early.
As a result, in the course of negotiations, the members of the quartet are obliged to talk, not so much about the fulfillment of the political components of the agreements, but about how to create additional technical conditions for that. So this time, agreements were reached on the dissolution of military links along the contact line and the creation of demilitarized zones in accordance with concrete coordinates and timeframes. This is nothing new. The problem is not is the agreements but its fulfillment. And this is what Kiev just does not want. It wants to impose its own controls over the borders. However, the Western participants of the meeting demanded fulfilling the points of the agreement in the order in which they appear in the document.
In these conditions, Russia’s attempt to reach the beginning of the fulfillment of the political agreements fell short. On the eve of the negotiations, the deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affaires, Grigorii Karasin stated that elections must take place under Ukrainian law and under the international supervision. For this, our side even took upon itself the development of amendments to the Ukrainian legislation, which were presented in Berlin. “Russia has presented its options for electoral laws. But I have said to Mister Lavrov that we can write our own Ukrainian legislation and we do not need any advice”, reacted on this Klimkin. The minister demonstrated unwarranted insolence, one of the signs of the victorious nationalism on the Ukraine.
Moreover the position of Kiev goes not only against Moscow’s position. Germany and France support readily the Russian side. They still have patience, although the head of the German Foreign Ministry Frank-Walter Steinmeier already declared, “the Minsk process cannot last forever”. This ought to be taken as the last notices to Kiev. No one in Europe is going to tinker with them forever. The press secretary of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov has labelled the fate of the Minsk Agreements as “sad”, also demonstrated the extreme irritation for the lack of realistic progress.
However it seems that the Ukrainian government has too many problems to fulfill its obligations towards the Russian Federation. The pressure from the nationalists threatens their own position. Adopting the special status of the Donbas by the Rada can bring on a new Maidan, directed against them. The recent incident with the downing of the military helicopter near Petro Poroshenko’s residence cannot be accidental. Wishing to survive, the president of the Ukraine and his entourage will protract to the end. Hence, Klimkin’s announcements of the Minsk Agreements’ freeze.
It is worth mentioning that initially the full realization of the Minsk Agreements was not realistic. Thousands killed, rivers of blood separated opposing sides seriously and for a long time. Even a formal amnesty will not protect the participants of combat actions from settling accounts with nationalists in the Novorussian republics, if they are not able to fend for themselves with weapons in their hands. To provide a full Russian participation in the political process throughout the Ukraine is also complicated. The nationalism genie is out of the bottle. In reality, the Minsk Agreements need, rather, as a pretext, the justification of what Moscow wants “in good faith”, but did not happen. Pretext for what? For Russian reconquest.
The head of the LPR Igor Plotnitsky already stated the readiness of the republic to cooperate with the Ukraine only in the case if she fulfills the Minsk Agreements, in all its points. And explained why: “This will not be that Ukraine, which is today, then we are ready to look at her as a neighbour with which we can coexist, live, work, trade, politically cooperate”, said he. In his speech at the May 9 parade, the politician promised an alternative, the return of “northern regions in the structure of the republic”. “No one is going to conserve the situation”, mentioned Plotnitsky.
The leader of the DPR Aleksandr Zakharchenko went further. Frustrated by Kiev’s unwillingness to fulfill the duties taken upon herself, he launched the process of political “reconstruction” of the Ukraine. For this, a “hot line” was established, in which the head of the DPR communicates with the Russian-speaking inhabitants of the territory under the control of Kiev. The first line was established with Kharkov and then with Odessa, next in line is Dnepropetrovsk and even Kiev. In addition, in Donetsk there will be representatives of the western regions of the Ukraine, inhabited mostly with Russians. Such a step indicates the creation of a new Russian political centre, in fact a reorientation of Russians from Kiev to Donetsk.
All this can end at once with the Ukraine’s reorganization from a unitary state into a confederacy. Russians, whose safety and rights Kiev does not want to guarantee willingly, will take into their own hands their fate, without asking anyone.