Minsk Agreement Ceasefire

The most important change made by Minsk II is a ceasefire that has significantly reduced the number of casualties. Both sides claim to have withdrawn the heavy weapons, as planned; But they accuse each other of giving up their weapons as soon as the observers are gone. Most of the other points of the agreement are also controversial. The Russians` insistence on keeping part of the border with Ukraine under their control shows that they are keeping their military options open. With the 2015 Ukrainian municipal elections scheduled for 25 October, DPR leader Alexander Zakhartchenko adopted a decree on 2 July ordering the sending election on 18 October. [68] He stated that this measure was „in accordance with the Minsk agreements“. [69] According to Zakharchenko, this meant that the DPR had „started to implement the Minsk agreements independently“. [69] Zakharchenko stated that the elections would be held „on the basis of The Ukrainian Law on the Status of Temporary Self-Domination of Certain Districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk Regions“, as they were not in contradiction with the DPR Constitution and laws. [69] Minsk II, the result of a round of nightly negotiations in the marathon, provides a detailed roadmap for resolving the conflict. The 13-point plan begins with a ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front lines to be overseen by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). An „all for all“ will be followed by an exchange of prisoners, local elections and amnesty for combatants; Both sides should ensure the security of the delivery of humanitarian aid and work towards the socio-economic reintegration of territories held by the separatists. Ukraine promises to implement constitutional amendments to provide for „decentralisation“; In exchange, all „foreign armed formations“ will be withdrawn and Ukraine will regain control of its national borders.

But the agreement is dotted with casual language and the order of many steps is very confusing. Until Minsk-2 is achieved, the EU will maintain its sanctions against Russia, a measure that many Western countries have supported. At this stage, it is not clear whether the sanctions regime will be changed if changes to the peace agreement are made. The first agreement to end the crisis in Ukraine was signed in early September 2014. Two years later, with more than 9,500 dead, the conflict continues to escalate. The last ceasefire attempt on 1 September failed after just over a week. On 13 September, separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine raised hopes by announcing a unilateral ceasefire, their first such offer. But as German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier meets Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev today to discuss the Minsk agreements, it is clear that peace remains a distant dream.

„We`ve had long periods of downtime and if progress has been made, it`s millimetres,“ Steinmeier says. What are the Minsk agreements and what do they require? In less than five years, a peace agreement negotiated between Russia, Ukraine and Western Europe has been the subject of fierce opposition and anti-Putin conspiracy theories. All pro-Western candidates for the Ukrainian presidency are critical of the Minsk agreements. How did we get to this point? At the heart of this briefing are the negotiations leading up to this agreement, the military balance and the appetite for new confrontations on all sides, as well as likely scenarios for the immediate future.