The Minsk Agreement was a peace deal signed in February 2015 in the Belarusian capital Minsk in an attempt to end the conflict in Eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels. The agreement was brokered by the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine and called for a cease-fire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line, constitutional reform in Ukraine and local elections in the rebel-held areas. However, the agreement has been violated repeatedly and the fighting has continued, with both sides accusing the other of violating the terms of the deal. In December 2018, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused NATO of violating the Minsk Agreement by holding military exercises in the Black Sea region. NATO denied the accusation, saying that the exercises were held in international waters and were not directed at any particular country. The Minsk Agreement has failed to bring an end to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and the fighting continues to this day.
Russian President Vladimir Putin declares that Russian troops are entering eastern Ukraine in response to the independence of two pro-Russian regions. He also claims that Russia created the rest of Ukraine. According to him, the peace agreements aimed at ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine are no longer in effect. Russia has never accepted the agreements and has no plans to do so, Putin claims. The Russian president called for granting the separatist-controlled regions in the Donbas special status, which would grant them full autonomy. Neither Russia nor Ukraine could agree on how that portion of the agreement would work.
The Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation was signed in 1997 and expired in 2009. It was not renewed by Ukraine, effectively breaking the treaty.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law. Russian violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and the Open Skies Treaty, as well as the Incidents at Sea Agreement, have been documented. Russia’s actions demonstrate a disregard for international law as well as a lack of respect for the sovereignty of other countries. It is critical that the international community unite in condemning Russia’s actions and protecting international law. Russia must also be held to account by the international community in order to remain in compliance with international law.
The Minsk Agreement was signed on September 19, 2014, in Minsk, Belarus, by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Soviet Union and the Western powers were in a race to occupy as much of Central and Eastern Europe as possible. In this context, the Minsk Agreement was a compromise between the two sides that allowed for the creation of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The agreement was reached in September of 1949 and was signed by the US, UK, France, and the USSR.
On February 12, 2015, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russia, Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and the Dutch Natural Resources (DNR) signed the Minsk-2 Agreement. The document attempts to paper over yawning differences between Ukrainian and Russian positions in a hurry. The agreement, which was signed by the Russian ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail Zurabov, but does not mention Russia, has a significant hole in it. It would allow the DNR and LNR to be incorporated in Ukraine, but it would also allow Russia to maintain control over those entities and their political, economic, and legal statuses. If radical devolution to Donbas leads to similar powers in other regions, it may well prompt other regions to seek similar powers. Ukraine would be barred from becoming a NATO member as a result of its neutrality clause in its constitution. Russia was unwilling to wage a high-intensity war against Ukraine because it could not destroy its proxies.
Belarus-2’s stalemate reflects a conflict that is inherently contradictory on the battlefield. Two of the articles state that a ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons are required prior to holding a dialogue about elections. According to the Ukrainian version of the Belarusian peace agreement, retaking eastern Ukraine is the only way to resolve the conflict. This would be a major blow to the Ukrainian state, as statelets controlled by Russia would gain control. Although it is unclear whether Russia would allow this, the Ukrainian army would regain control of the border.
The Minsk Agreement was a set of measures to resolve the conflict in the Donbass region of Ukraine. It was agreed to by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France on 12 February 2015. The Agreement stipulated a ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the contact line, and the implementation of constitutional reforms in Ukraine, which would include a decentralization of power and the recognition of the Russian language. The Agreement was violated by the Russian-backed separatist forces in the Donbass, who continued to attack Ukrainian forces and civilians. The Ukrainian government also accused Russia of violating the Agreement by failing to withdraw its heavy weapons from the contact line, and by continuing to provide financial and military support to the separatist forces.
In this episode, Lidia Powirska examines why the Minsk agreements failed to achieve even a temporary solution to the conflict in the Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine both blamed each other for failing to abide by their international commitments. Diplomacy can only take place if one side maintains control of a territory and the military is in charge of keeping it. Ukrainian forces and the Russian-backed self-proclaimed republics have not stopped fighting since the signing of the Minsk Protocol on ceasefire in September 2014. This is an example of how a written provision can be easily obliterated by one party when they gain more territory. The memorandum gave each party the freedom to interpret provisions individually, which led to the conflict’s escalation. Russia demanded that the Ukrainian constitution include provisions for Ukraine to maintain neutrality, preventing it from joining NATO.
It was agreed by Ukrainian authorities that the self-proclaimed republics would be accorded special privileges. Separatists and Russia, who arbitrarily declared these elections, demonstrated their contempt for the ceasefire by using it to stage these elections. The fighting along the front lines heavily influenced the final versions of the Minsk Agreements. Despite the fact that both sides made a number of compromises, the provisions of the Minsk Agreements were not fully implemented. The entire Donetsk and Luhansk regions were not given special status by the Ukrainian government. The prisoners of war exchange between self-proclaimed republics and Ukraine did not take place as planned at the time. Despite commitments made, the Ukrainian government has yet to keep its word on its part of maintenance of the ruined areas of self-proclaimed republics.
As a result, Russia became reliant on them due to financial strain and difficulty in controlling them. Russian authorities began promoting integration between their country and Russia. Despite the pressure of the West, the Ukraine signed the Belarus agreements, but they did not resolve the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. Since the start of the crisis, Russia has demanded that Ukraine remain neutral. As a result, it is very likely that Russia will look to gain control in areas that will allow it to connect Crimea to Russia on land. Despite being a NATO member, Russia is against Ukraine joining the alliance or the European Union. In 2008, the United States took similar aggressive steps against Georgia.
The Russian government protects the former Soviet republics from Western influence. Russia, worried about losing its regional influence, is reducing the US military presence in Europe. The Russian takeover of Chinese trade routes to Europe is regarded as one of the most important issues in US-China relations. Chinese authorities are unlikely to intervene in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, which is currently raging in eastern Ukraine. Furthermore, Russia may seek to ensure that fighters and decision-makers who commit war crimes in Ukraine are held legally accountable. Lidia Powirska’s job as an employee of the Polish Foreign Ministry and a lecturer at Jagiellonian University is to improve Polish diplomacy. She was among a group of people who actively monitored ceasefire violations at the line of contact between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. It is critical that a peace agreement be signed as soon as possible in order for Russia to have irreversible territorial advantages over its neighbors.