War in Donbas will end either peacefully, or militarily, but not through Minsk agreements

Author : Volodymyr Inozemtsev

Source :

The fact that the war in the center of Europe has been going on for the fourth year already indicates that it is beneficial to all signatories of the previous agreements - and, in my opinion, it's time to reformat the entire process to find the way out of this separatist adventure
10:26, 27 July 2017

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The news, that we recently heard from Ukraine – are mostly reports of more tension in Donbas conflict fighting in ORDLO zone; important telephone talks of the four countries’ leaders within the framework of Normandy format; harsh statements of the US special envoy for Ukraine, who supported the supply of modern weapons to Kyiv, indicate, in my opinion, the apparent futility of observing the notorious Minsk agreements.

This strange document, signed in February 2015 on the days of the brutal fighting near Debaltsevo, presupposed measures that had never been realized. The withdrawal of foreign troops, the very existence of which was denied by Moscow; inclusion of two gangster formations in Ukraine as subjects of a federalized country; restoration of Kyiv's control over the Russian-Ukrainian border - all these points were impossible initially. They either demanded from Russia stop the fraud that largely supported the high popularity of the regime, or forced Ukraine to officially become an incompetent state.

The list of the signatories of the agreement also, in my opinion, did not give grounds for considering it a serious document. The father-in-law of the Ukrainian oligarch, "who carried out activities in a tripartite contact group on a voluntary basis"; "the ambassador of the Russian Federation", which had not visited Kyiv for a long time; two self-proclaimed "chiefs" of the separatist regions and the representative of the OSCE mission, who soon left after signing the agreements – these are not the people whose arrangements could lead to an end to the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Today, all that has been said becomes obvious - although, it seems to me, it was clear long ago.

Everything that is happening in front of us in Ukraine urgently demands the cessation of meaningless "consultations" and reformatting the negotiations. And the parties to these negotiation should be Ukraine as a country subjected to aggression; Russia as a sponsoring state of separatists; The European Union which signed an association agreement with Ukraine; and senior UN officials as members of organization with serious experience of peacekeeping missions.

Related: Russia sends another “humanitarian convoy” to Donbas

The beginning of negotiations should be preceded by the agreement of their term: in the event of failure to reach agreement, all previous arrangements may be canceled. The only realistic goal may be the establishment of a demilitarized zone in the territory of ORDLO with its transfer under the management of the United Nations for 20-25 years in the framework of the actual restoration of the Trusteeship Council, which has never been formally abolished in this organization.

This would enable disarmament of illegal units; guarantee the observance of the rights of the local population; create a legal framework for the inhabitants of the given territory; streamlined economic processes, give an impetus for organizing the collection of funds for elimination of the damage caused by war. For Ukraine, this option would mean the emergence of a stable buffer zone on the border with Russia; for Russia it could gave guarantees (which, according to Moscow, it needs) of the rights of Russian-speaking residents of these areas. Before the EU it could open the possibility of developing cooperation and integration of Ukraine as a country not in a state of war, etc. But the main thing is that in this case the agreements would be made by real players, not clowns or puppets, and their failure would be interpreted as a violation of obligations given by the great powers.

The fact that the war in the center of Europe has been going on for the fourth year already indicates that it is beneficial to all signatories of the previous agreements - and, in my opinion, it's time to reformat the whole process so that the way to the end of the separatist adventure would be found. It can be peaceful - through the mediation of international organizations and the temporary status of Donbas under independent control, or militaristic - through the escalation of the conflict, an open clash and, as a result, Ukraine's victory over separatists with a significant number of victims and an economic catastrophe for the region. However, what is happening now is unlikely to last for long: all parties at some point will realize that better an end with horror than a horror without end - even if it seems absolutely terrible now...

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