During the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), the sides made a huge step backward from the truce which lasts in Donbas for 1.5 months.
Protocol #13 of the TCG states that Ukraine withdrew from the measures on the ceasefire that determined the truce mechanism.
However, after the refusal of Kyiv to hold the inspection in Shumy (such option was included in the measures), the sides decided that Ukraine disavowed the agreements. They should be concluded once more, as Strana reported.
How agreements on truce were broken up
The new agency got the protocol of the meeting of Minsk contact group dates on September 16.
Thus, the meeting is interesting after Berlin meeting of Andriy Yermak and Dmitry Kozak, where the sides failed to agree about anything. They even did not agree with the statements that enhance the ceasefire regime.
The last meeting of the TCG exacerbated the situation.
“The document takes note of the information of Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) about the violations of the ceasefire regime by Ukraine. The issue is about the opening of the sniper fire that led to the death of one of the separatists and development of the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine near Shumy that approximated to DPR positions”.
Due to this fact, Donetsk offered to hold one more inspection in Shumy instead of the one broken the last week. However, Ukraine refused to do it. The most important issue spelled out in point 2.1.9 of the protocol: ‘the withdrawal of Ukraine from agreed arrangements on fulfillment of the measures dated July 22, 2020,” the document says.
Thus, one more thing should be explained. The issue is that the demand of the inspection near Shumy is based on the mentioned measures on truce spelled out by Ukraine in July. It is one more reason for Kyiv to agree for this inspection firstly.
“Currently, Ukraine withdrew from the agreements through its refusal to observe them. The next meeting of the subgroup on security, the sides decided to discuss new measures on strengthening of the ceasefire regime”.
“In a single sentence, we have the situation when the measures on the ceasefire regime are void de-jure. Unlikely, Ukraine personally stated that it withdraws from the terms of the truce. Most likely, the TCG partners interpreted the refusal of Kyiv to follow the measures in inspection in that way,” the message says.
It is confirmed by DPR’s statement.
“Ukraine refused from the engagement of the coordination mechanism of response to violations agreed on July 22 within the measures on the strengthening of the ceasefire regime. Thus, all extra measures were destroyed by the Ukrainian side,” the Foreign Ministry of DPR stated.
“We regret the position of the Ukrainian side due to which the whole measures package should be re-agreed,” the statement says.
Two signals from Moscow
In all other important issues, the progress is possible, according to the protocol, only when the Verkhovna Rada amends the regulation on the local elections that contradicts Minsk Agreements. It mentions that the elections in the region would be held only when the border is returned to Ukraine.
It is the unchanged demand of Russia, without which it refuses to hold prisoner swap and implement other developments. Including the holding of new Normandy Format meeting at the level of the leaders.
“However, Zelensky’s team does not hurry to solve the issue. Today, the meeting of Servant of the People was canceled, where this topic had to be discussed – relying on the disease of Vice PM Reznikov. There are many doubts that the parliament would be able to get through the protests of the nationalists and far-right position to amend the regulation. There are almost no changes to agree with Moscow on something without it,” the message says.
Two signals came from Moscow that before the elections, the meeting of the Normandy Format leaders will not take place. And about skepticism of the Russian leadership toward Zelensky.
Firstly, a few ambiguous phrases were announced by Peskov – the meeting might take place in the foreseeable future; however, a lot of things should be done for it.
Later, the statement of Lavrov was announced who quite roughly criticized Zelensky and stated that it is unlikely that Minsk Agreements would be implemented with such a president.
“In other words, Russia gives to understand that it does not intend to help Zelensky with PR before the election. Only in case, he starts to fulfill the political part. However, it seems that Kremlin does not really believe in it,” the message said.