State of Minsk agreements implementation

European Councilhas agreed that the duration of the economic sanctions against Russia shall be linked to the complete implementationof the Minsk agreements

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“Minsk agreements’ is a common name for a package of documents adopted in September 2014 and February 2015. The  ceasefire of September 2014 was violated by Russian and separatists’ forces, leading to a significant increase of the area not controlled by Ukrainian government by February 2015. ‘Package of measures for the implementationof Minsk Agreements’ (‘Minsk-2’) was signed on 12 February 2015 after its content was negotiated at ‘Normandyformat’ summit in Minsk between the Presidents of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Chancellor of Germany.

The arcticle is a part of  ‘Peace to Ukraine’ publication series for International Renaissance Foundation

Agreements were supported by the US, the EU and the UN Security Council. In March 2015, the European Councilhas agreed that the duration of the economic sanctions against Russia shall be linked to the complete implementationof the Minsk agreements.Analysis of the Minsk agreements implementation demonstrates that despite few steps forward made, the trend isobserved of the systematic violation of the certain clauses as well as serious manipulation of the others by the so-called ‘Donetsk People Republic’/ ‘Luhansk People Republic’ (‘DPR’/‘LPR’) separatist combatants and the RussianFederation.Lining international sanctions seems the only incentive for Russia to comply with Minsk agreements. Its currenttactic lies in partial implementation, which would help to apply for easing sanctions and thus decreasing the costof her waging war against Ukraine. At the same time, Russia preserves the possibility to once more escalate thecurrently low intensity conflict at any convenient moment.For the time being, the main violations and non-conformity lay in the security domain, which should be consideredas a basic prerequisite for the political settlement. Without full implementation of the cease-fire, and trust basedon the withdrawal of the agreed weapons as well as permission of the full-access to all territories for the OSCE, it isdifficult to start negotiations or practical implementation of the clauses regarding reconstruction of the destroyedterritories or local elections – in case these elections are expected to meet the international standards.Separatists’ troops, backed by Russia, are violating ceasefire on almost daily basis, using mostly mortars and heavymachine guns but occasionally also heavy artillery or “Grad” multiple rocket launcher system (MLRS). As a result,in total 430 Ukrainian servicemen were killed during March – October 2015. In general, for the period of 15February – 4 December 2015 there were only 47 days (15%) without wounded and killed from the Ukrainian side.Even during relatively ‘calm’ September–October 2015, 54 Ukrainian soldiers were killed. In November-December2015, shelling of the Ukrainian positions intensified. us, independent assessment confirms that what is in placeshould not be considered as a ceasefire but rather a low-intensity conflict