Commentary by Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, published on RT.com, Aug 10, 2016
Unfortunately, there has been little progress in implementing the Minsk Agreements, signed on February 12, 2015, mainly due to Kiev’s unwillingness to fulfill its obligations and its inability to deal with socio-economic problems or promote national accord and reconciliation.
As long as shooting continues in Donbass, Kiev tries to divert public attention from the alleged ‘achievements’ of Maidan and request additional funds from their Western sponsors.
Here are examples of the Minsk Agreements being grossly violated by Kiev:
1. It is clearly said in the Minsk Agreements that heavy weapons must be withdrawn from the contact line. However, Ukrainian armed forces haven’t stopped shelling Donetsk and Lugansk, including the use of weapons that are supposed to have been withdrawn. This leads to civilian casualties and the destruction of property.
It is inappropriate to blame Lugansk and Donetsk for the escalation of tension, as it is the Ukrainian armed forces that are in control of the buffer zone and are moving dangerous heavy weapons there.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine has reported many times about the concentration of the Ukrainian forces along the contact line and the deployment of Ukrainian armed forces in Pavlopol, Pishchevik and Zaitsevo. On 26 February, 2016, OSCE observers reported that Ukrainian forces controlled a part of Shirokino in violation of the demilitarization agreement.
Operations of the Ukrainian armed forces run contrary to the logic of the Minsk-II, resulting in the dangerous reduction of the distance between the conflicting parties.
2. On the first day of the withdrawal of artillery, Kiev had to engage in dialogue and start consulting with Donetsk and Lugansk representatives on the conditions for elections to be held in April  on the basis of Ukrainian law and under OSCE oversight. The second date outlined in the document is 12 March, i.e. one month after the signing of the Minsk Agreements, when Kiev was required to enact a special status law designating the territory that this law was supposed to cover. This hasn’t been done. A law was passed, the territories marked, but the law said that it didn’t apply to Donetsk and Lugansk.
3. The Minsk Agreements clearly say elections should be held in accordance with the OSCE criteria, one of which is to ensure that no one will be subjected to intimidation, harassment, etc. The statement by the Kiev authorities on “elections first, then amnesty” constitute a serious distortion of the sequence and logic of what was really agreed. In accordance with the OSCE elections criteria, the amnesty should be granted before the elections.
It is crucial to understand, at long last, that the only way to settle the Ukrainian crisis is by implementing the Minsk Agreements, including direct dialogue between the members of the Contact Group and its subgroups, supported by a strong international assistance. If the West doesn’t change its policy of justifying Kiev’s violation of Minsk, a new wave of escalation in Eastern Ukraine is inevitable.
Dr Alexander Yakovenko is Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland since 2011. He was Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia from 2005 to 2011 where he specialized in unilateral diplomacy. Wikipedia.
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