Minsk: anniversary of failed peace

Three years ago, on February 11-12, 2015, a document entitled "Package of Measures to implement the Minsk agreements," better known as Minsk-2 (or the second Minsk agreements) was signed in Minsk. Thus, it was opposed to "Minsk-1" (the first Minsk agreements), which in fact were the Minsk protocol - a document that declared a ceasefire and the launch of a peace process in Donbass.

Actually, the opposition of "Minsk-2" to "Minsk-1" is incorrect. The second document is the development of the first - the technical instruction on the procedure for the implementation of the agreements indicated in the first document. "Minsk-1" (Minsk Protocol) is declarative and leaves sufficient space for interpreting the obligations of the parties. "Minsk-2" (a set of measures) is specific and determines not only the obligations of each party, but also in what terms and in what order these obligations should be fulfilled.

Actually, the need for Minsk-2 arose precisely because Kiev, counting on the comprehensive support of the West, that it would be allowed to conduct its own operation, Operation Storm, sabotaged the implementation of the Minsk Protocol, demanding first the fulfillment of the obligations of the DPR and the LPR. But the Ukrainian army suffered another catastrophic defeat near Debaltsevo, the West put its hands in the pocket, and Merkel, according to eyewitnesses, forced Poroshenko to sign the Minsk-2, threatening otherwise to completely refuse support and turn a blind eye even to People's Republics' militias storming the of Kiev, if any.

Illusions of Kiev have disappeared, but this does not mean that they changed their position there. The fact that Ukraine does not intend to implement the Package of Measures was clear already at the time of its signing. Ukrainian politicians did not conceal that they considered this agreement only as a delay, which allowed to stop the militia's offensive, to stabilize the front line, to prevent the disintegration of the army and to translate the conflict into a political sphere. Since Kiev flatly refused to come to an agreement with Donbass, it could only wait for sanctions to influence Russia and whether it would be possible for Western diplomats to sell Moscow again a rotten commodity - promising in words the golden mountains, but not fixing promises in the form of binding agreements (roughly as this was when Gorbachev was promised that NATO would not expand to the East).

For Kiev, "Minsk" became an element of positional diplomatic confrontation. That is, Kiev changed the format of the conflict, but did not abandon the conflict as such. This is what gave the DPR head Zakharchenko and the French President Macron, on the eve of the third anniversary of the second Minsk, the ability to express a skeptical assessment of the prospects of these agreements. Macron said that the implementation of the Minsk agreements had reached a dead end. Since the first two years since the "Minsk-2" Francois Hollande worked as French President, Emmanuelle Macron has the right not to know that the implementation of these agreements has never left the dead end.

General Zakharchenko is more specific and better command of the material. He notes that Minsk failed to live up to expectations and hopes, but there is no alternative negotiation platform. Donetsk, of course, hoped that the peace process initiated by the Minsk agreements would at least stop the shelling of cities and the sluggish activity of the AFU on the line of demarcation. But these hopes were not justified. Ukraine has not fulfilled a single paragraph of the Minsk agreements. Except for sometimes held exchanges of prisoners. But even the requirement to change all for all is not fulfilled. Nevertheless, the DPR Head is right - there is no other negotiating platform, we have to use this one. Moreover, the Minsk agreements have been approved and confirmed by the resolution of the UN Security Council, that is, they have become, in fact, not just a multilateral agreement but an element of a UN Security Council resolution - a document with the highest international legal legitimacy.

Moreover, just in time for the third anniversary of the Minsk-2 (signing of the Package of Measures), in Germany (serving as one of the three guarantor countries), after long and difficult months of negotiations, a draft coalition agreement between the CDU/CSU and the SPD was presented, and it waits for the approval of party structures. If the statement is made, Merkel will retain the chancellorship, and the Social Democrats will get a majority in the government and strengthen control over foreign policy.

So, in the part devoted to the relations of the FRG with Russia and, as a consequence, with Ukraine, the Minsk agreements are one of the key elements. The coalition agreement obliges the government to achieve their fulfillment. Moreover, if the requirements to fulfill the Minsk agreements addressed to Russia are traditionally of the nature of political mantra, Kiev is told that the political and diplomatic assistance of the FRG, as well as the allocation of money for the restoration of Donbass, will be available only after the implementation of the Minsk agreements by Ukraine. In fact, the Federal Republic of Germany at the same time frightens Kiev with ostracism in case of bad behaviour and promises it a minor morsel, if they will behave well.

Plans for cooperation with Russia are much more extensive in Germany - up to joint efforts to create a single space from Lisbon to Vladivostok, where Germany and Russia will guarantee security and sovereignty to European states, guided by the principles of the OSCE. In general, Berlin wants to manage the EU together with Moscow and is ready to include the EU in the big Eurasia for this purpose.

It is clear that no one will sacrifice such ambitious plans for the sake of some Ukraine. But the Minsk agreements are now part of the coalition agreement, and hence the factor of German domestic policy. That is, even not fulfilled, they expand the scope of their action. Initially, from the factor of Ukrainian politics, they turned into a regional policy factor, and now they are gradually becoming a factor of global politics, influencing the future not only of Germany, but of the whole of the European Union.

This is a bad signal for Ukraine. The policy of Germany and the EU cannot depend on Kiev, but Kiev depends entirely on Berlin and Brussels. As a result, Minsk agreements, as a factor of European and global politics, completely get out of Kiev's control. Now their action, inaction or opposition will be determined by other politicians in the interests of other countries.

But the very Minsk agreements get a chance for a second life. An element of a big global game, they completely lose touch with Ukraine and dependence on its fate. Therefore, there is a possibility that the Minsk agreements filled with new content will continue to operate. 

DONi News Agency