Third, Minsk is. What to expect at the Donbass

Третий Минск идет. Чего ждать на Донбассе

The Minsk process ineffective? This is to say. And it is with what to compare. That Minsk-2 is the reason for the sanctions against Russia, imposed because of Russian aggression in Ukraine.

And is Minsk-2, anyway, have blocked widespread use of Russian troops on Ukrainian territory. But the situation is evolving with new challenges — how to drive out the aggressor from the occupied areas. But in this current Minsk agreement, alas, the helpless, according to Eugene Magda, in No. 21 of the Journal Reporter.


When June 6, 2014 the Normandy coast was found valid by the leaders of Germany, Russia and France, and elected President of Ukraine, the situation looked almost idyllic: the Donbass wandered small groups of Pro-Russian and Russian terrorists, but there was no artillery fire, no columns of Russian equipment.

Then the participants of the Normandy four agreed to start the negotiation process on the settlement of the escalating conflict in the Donbass. Annexed and officially adopted in the Russian Crimea issued for expedite and simplify negotiations of the brackets. The United States chose not to participate in the Normandy “Quartet”.

The settlement seemed at the time the case so quickly is achievable that Petro Poroshenko in his pre-election promises mentioned ending the war in a few weeks. If elected, Poroshenko unveiled a peace plan that consisted of 14 points. The document suggested joint patrolling by police officers, the release of the captured administrative buildings, an Amnesty for participants of illegal armed formations (IAF) and holding early parliamentary and local elections. The President was willing to participate in the approval of candidates of heads of regional state administration in Donetsk and Lugansk.

Today, it’s easy to blame the President in the rash promises. But only after two months it became clear that Russia had its own plans in relation to the Donbass and Ukraine in General. She relied on the dismemberment of our country and its steady transformation into a gray area in the center of Europe.


Minsk was the venue for the talks largely due to the presence of Alexander Lukashenko at the inauguration of his Ukrainian colleagues. The capital of Belarus was comfortable and for reasons of logistics. 23 Jun 2014 there was held the first talks between the Ukrainian representatives and delegates of the self-styled “republics”. The piquancy of the situation lay in the fact that official Kyiv could not give the dialogue status, which would legitimize the so-called DNR and LNR. Therefore, the Ukrainian side was at first provided for a long time gone into political retirement, Leonid Kuchma, did not hide the special relationship with Vladimir Putin, Viktor Medvedchuk and his faithful squire Nestor Shufrych. But Irina Gerashchenko, Vladimir Gorbulin, Roman Bezsmertnyi, Yevhen Marchuk, Oleksandr Motsyk, the Ambassador, the speaker began work on a rotational basis in Minsk later.

The tragic death of 17 July 2014 in the sky above the Donbass Boeing-777 with 298 people aboard showed that the confrontation in the East of Ukraine is of a different nature than the fake image, which was trying to impose on the world by the Russian propaganda. For the destruction of a passenger airliner at a height of 10 km used suitable heavy weapons and the ability to manage it. This put the fat end to attempts of Western countries to pretend that the Russian version of “the tractor drivers and coal miners fighting in the mines to dig up weapons” has the right to life.

Forced doublet

At the end of August there was Ilovajskij tragedy killed, injured and captured hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers — all as a result of direct intervention of Russian troops in the conflict in the Donbas. The Kremlin was in no hurry to force the issue and finish Ukraine, and then to dictate terms to Kiev had to maneuver, based on the availability of forces and means. If anyone has forgotten, let me remind you that in early September were seriously examined, even the possibility of the intervention of the Russian aviation and tactical missiles.

The cease-fire, a respite and an opportunity for regrouping was for Ukraine is vital. 5 Sep Kuchma, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, OSCE representative Heidi Tagliavini, and leaders of the breakaway republics as individuals signed the Minsk Protocol, which included a ceasefire, the adoption of the Law On temporary order of local self-government in certain districts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions and the economic recovery of Donbass. For the difficult, but necessary in those circumstances for the law of Ukraine MPs of the seventh convocation voted in a closed session of the Verkhovna Rada on 16 September 2014.

Important: the law on ORDO never entered into force, under the first reading stopped and the amendments to the Constitution, envisaging the expansion of the rights of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Ukraine is trying to offer as alternatives for the decentralization of power across the country and frozen the action of the law extended to 31 December 2019 for the sole purpose to demonstrate a constructive disposition of the international community.

However, the lull in the Donbass was short-lived, on November 2, in the puppet formations in the Donbass held a parody of the elections in the so-called authorities. The Russian curators of the militants tried to force the issue, focusing on the expansion of the territory of the breakaway republics. January 2015 was memorable for the shooting of a passenger bus at the checkpoint near Volnovakha and artillery strikes on residential areas of Mariupol. In the center of attention of citizens of Ukraine were the defenders of the Donetsk airport “cyborgs”. After failing to build on the success in the sea of Azov, the militants launched an attack on an important railway hub debaltseve, which was directly involved the Russian military.

The conflict in Eastern Ukraine has intensified dramatically under attack proved the security of the entire Central Europe. Eurosource gradually moved from a state of “deep concern” at least to the visibility of certain actions. Work began on the Minsk-2: February 11, 2015 in Minsk attended by participants of the Normandy four, the meeting was preceded by the visit of Angela Merkel and françois Hollande to Kiev and Moscow, where they were preparing the ground for reaching agreements. The talks in the capital of Belarus, lasted 16 hours, it’s late in the memoir, Hollande will write that Putin threatened Poroshenko “to crush the Ukrainian army” and sought to gain an advantage.

But the Ukrainian military managed to avoid debaltsevskogo boiler, which gave Kiev the right arguments at the negotiating table in Minsk. After matching the 13 points of the set of measures on implementing the Minsk agreements, the meeting parted, without having a joint press conference or briefing.

12 February 2015 the document was signed by the same parties that signed the Minsk Protocol in September 2014. On February 17, the Complex of measures on implementation of the Minsk agreements approved as a matrix settlement in the Donbass, the UN Security Council, and this responsiveness is an indication of the relationship of the United States to document that became a model example of hybrid diplomacy.

The historical significance of the Minsk agreements is that they have sharply reduced the intensity of the fighting in the Donbass, has allowed the Armed forces of Ukraine to buy time to strengthen their positions. For three and a half years after the signing in the East of Ukraine is not seen flare-UPS of activity, but the Ukrainian military has restored control over a number of settlements. Opposition parties have not begun implementation of the Minsk agreements, after failing to achieve a stable ceasefire. But the Ukrainian side is already not suffered such losses in clashes as up to Feb-2015. Was postponed and the risk of a return of Russian troops to the demarcation line.

The Finish Of The Minsk-2

Participants of the Normandy format held two more meetings at the highest level — 2 October 2015 in Paris and 19 October 2016 in Berlin, not counting the more intense negotiations, foreign Ministers and political advisers. To achieve progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements failed. Russia mouth of Putin, already in the autumn of 2018 made it clear, that put the process on pause, hoping to continue negotiations after the change of power in Kiev. Moreover, according to the active financing of overt and covertly Pro-Russian forces in the upcoming elections — the Kremlin is not just expects, but will make every effort to ensure the defeat of Poroshenko in the presidential election.

In December 2016 — March 2017 a group of parliamentarians and of the people who called themselves veterans of the ATO, organized a blockade of transport communication with the occupied Donbass. Demanding the release of Ukrainian prisoners of war put forward by the organizers of the blockade is, for obvious reasons was not fulfilled. In order to prevent the escalation of tensions and the fratricidal confrontation, the national security Council in March last year took the decision on termination of freight traffic with the occupied Donbass. Lost their ties with the controlled premises promptly transferred control of the militants. Ukraine blockade, as claimed by Pro-government analysts cost about 1% of GDP. She has also exacerbated the problems with supply of Ukrainian thermal power plants anthracite.

At first glance, this hit the Ukrainian economy. But business ties with terrorists controlled territory was so toxic that struck Kiev enormous reputational damage. The waiver allowed us to count on greater support of Ukraine, sanctions from the allies and beat out trumps from hands of the Russian propagandists.

27 December 2017 took place the exchange of prisoners and hostages, the largest and the last known until November 2018. As subsequent events showed, the key aim of this action for the Russian side, there was a public fixation status of Victor Medvedchuk and the ROC is to define their influence and to legitimize the participation in the Minsk process. 238 people at the request of the unrecognized “DNR” and “LNR” went on the uncontrolled territory, a few dozen refused, 74 Ukrainian hostages returned home. Further exchanges were suspended, although the militants holding dozens of Ukrainian military and civilians. As already mentioned, the Kremlin thus has indicated its unwillingness to see Poroshenko in the Ukrainian head of state.

Time to present the bill

The resulting respite was used quite effectively, and on 18 January 2018, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the Law On peculiarities of state policy in the sphere of national sovereignty over the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. The document called Russia an aggressor, it is like the occupier is responsible for what is happening in the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine. On change of the Antiterrorist operation came Operation joint forces, law and military capabilities in the vicinity of the zone of contact with the militants has increased significantly.

What allies? July 7, 2017 special representative of the US state Department in Ukraine was Kurt Volker, a protege of Senator John McCain. The very creation of these positions looks an unprecedented step, clearly demonstrating Washington’s interest in strengthening the impact of the situation in the Donbas. And at the same time showing the detachment of the first persons of the Washington administration from toxic contacts. Since the destination time Walker 10 times visited Ukraine, where he not only held talks in Kiev and met with the residents of Donbass.

Russia accuses him of abandoning negotiations with representatives of self-proclaimed and unrecognised “republics”. And when we remember that Walker three times — in August 2017 in Minsk in October of the same year in Belgrade, and January 2018 in Dubai met with Putin aide Vladislav Surkov, who, not without reason, considered one of the architects of aggression in the Donbas. After talks in Dubai the ball is on the Russian side, Welker in the framework of the conference, which was held in October 2018 Atlantic Council, stressed that the U.S. intends every one to two months to intensify sanctions against Russia to bring her to the negotiating table.

For 2018, much has changed: in April 2018 Ukraine has received a shipment of anti-tank systems Javelin. This supply had not so much practical as symbolic significance, as the West is thereby in effect lifted the embargo on the supply of effective lethal weapons to Ukraine, which existed from 2014.

In October 2018, shortly after his 80th birthday, Kuchma said goodbye to the Trilateral contact group in Minsk. He performed a difficult mission at the beginning of the negotiation process, but further developments did not leave him a chance to preserve the situation — Yes, to squeeze the Russians out of Donbass — alas, beyond his strength.

A temporary successor to Kuchma became Ruslan Demchenko, Advisor to the President and experienced diplomat, but it is expected that Poroshenko may appoint an even more iconic figure for negotiations in Minsk.

Very heavy format

After participating Merkel and Emmanuel Macron in the negotiations on Syria and the visit of the state Chancellor to Kiev in November 2018 sounded a lot of assumptions about a possible informal meeting of the Normandy Quartet during the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the First world war on 11 November in Paris. There are known to be present, Putin and Poroshenko. However, it is difficult to imagine what should be the motivation of the Russian President to participate in the discussion. In fact, the Ukrainian leader on the basis of electoral reasons, the dialogue with Putin seems not too relevant.

But trump has already indicated that to meet on the sidelines of the anniversary, with Putin, he has no plans. This is a strong signal to the Kremlin. First of all, it leaves space for trading that may follow after the informal N-4.

Alas, neither the channel nor the Minsk format, seems to not be able to resolve the conflict in the Donbas. However, participants are forced to sluggish negotiations in order to avoid reputational losses. The President of Russia, appears willing to sit out the other participants of the Quartet to achieve the best configuration.

But time is working in Putin’s interests exclusively at first glance, since Ukraine is gradually becoming stronger and the West has been steadily, albeit slowly, begins to see in relation to Russia. More precisely, in the European capitals is growing concern about its own security and a desire to keep the Russian tanks away from their borders. We are clearly approaching the Minsk-3 is exactly for these reasons.