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Ukraine Sabotaging Minsk Agreements as OSCE Secretary General Visited Moscow

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Ukraine Sabotaging Minsk Agreements as OSCE Secretary General Visited Moscow

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Lucas Leiroz, research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Earlier this week, speaking to media in Moscow after a meeting with Helga Schmidt, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov expressed his opinion on the Ukrainian government’s attitude towards the Minsk agreements, saying that “Volodymyr Zelenskyy not only failed to succeed in implementing the Minsk Agreements, but also sabotaged them in every possible way”. According to the Russian diplomat, Moscow did not notice any progress in the implementation of the agreements regarding the obligations of Kiev. Zelenskyy and his team have not yet sought any contact with the regional Donbass leaders, continuously postponing the moment to establish a dialogue with the autonomous republics.

More than that, Lavrov also demanded a more rigid attitude from the OSCE, saying that the organization must monitor the fulfillment of the agreements by both sides involved in the conflicts in eastern Ukraine. As the tension persists without a definitive solution and without a real commitment to peace on the part of Kiev, the number of victims gradually increases. The population of the Donbass continues to be a victim of the Ukrainian state, which has not yet ceased military incursions into the region, even though it has signed agreements years ago demanding an immediate ceasefire.

Not sharing the criticisms against the Ukrainian government, but agreeing on the gravity of the situation, Schmidt praised the importance of a consensus of the international community for the resolution of the conflict and promised to seek efforts to achieve peace. On the other hand, she did not clearly guarantee to improve monitoring the compliance with Minsk terms.

In fact, the current situation in Donbass needs to be analyzed primarily from a humanitarian point of view, being more much more than a simple political issue. The conflict in the region is absolutely asymmetrical, being the confrontation between an organized state with regular armed forces and two small autonomous republics, without international recognition, defended by popular militias without great firepower, mostly formed by volunteers with little military training. According to a recent report from the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, the number of victims of bombings in the autonomous republics is three times greater than that of victims of retaliatory fire in the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government. There is no firepower symmetry or any trace of regular warfare – it is simply the force of a state against a part of the population.

In order to create peace and stability in the Donbass, there must be absolute and immediate implementation of all the terms of the Minsk agreements – and for such implementation to be viable, two measures are essential: monitoring the actions of both sides and punishment, in the international sphere, against the side that does not comply with the agreements.

The OSCE maintains a monitoring mission in Ukraine, but apparently the group has failed to point out violations committed by Ukraine. Bombings, assassinations, and kidnappings remain common practice in the east of the country. In Lugansk, officials denounce that Kiev’s armed forces are illegally allocating military equipment in three settlements on the contact line in Donbass, in addition to reports of armored vehicles located near the village of Novozvanovka – which breaks the clause of the agreements that require a minimum 30km zone of demilitarized area between the Ukrainian territory and the republics.

More than that, the possibility of “resolving” the conflict in the region through the use of force became common in Ukrainian speeches. The conspiracy theory of an alleged “Russian annexation plan” has become an official narrative in Kiev and is the justification for any absurd bellicose proposals. However, what the international society ignores is the fact that these proposals are not bluffs: the Ukrainian state is indeed promoting an escalation of violence in the region. Constantly, the Minsk agreements are violated, and nothing is done to prevent Ukraine from continuing its violations and certain crimes.

Only with concrete sanctions being applied against Kiev for its negligent and sabotaging actions, there will be real positive changes in the region. The Minsk Agreements are in the common international interest of Russia and the West, with the escalation of violence being a problem for the responsibility of the Ukrainian government, whose policies are based on its ultra-nationalist and anti-Russian orientation, not considering the most elementary interests of international community.

Source: InfoBrics

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