The Kremlin’s attempts to impose its scenario for interpreting the Minsk agreements on the integration of Donbas into Ukraine will not succeed.
Such was the statement of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba while commenting on the recent announcement of Dmitri Kozak, the deputy chief of the Putin Administration. Thus, Kozak demanded that at the next round of talks in Minsk the Ukrainian delegation would submit amendments to the Ukrainian Constitution dealing with decentralization.
In response to this demand, the Ukrainian minister assured that “any attempts to distort the Minsk agreements, to interpret them in such a way that the integration will have to take place on Russian conditions will be in advance doomed to failure”.
Kuleba also stressed that Ukraine was intended to stop the war and return Donbas exclusively on its conditions. According to the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Office, the official Kyiv expects that Moscow will fulfill the Minsk agreements beginning with its first clause that provides for a complete ceasefire in Donbas.
“We are not a service bureau to fulfill “wishes” of some other countries”, the minister summed up.
In early July, Dmitri Kozak, the deputy chief of the Russian President’s Administration, announced that Russia waits for Ukraine to present a draft law on changes to the Ukrainian Constitution that will regulate “the special status” of Donbas.
In response to his announcement, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that no one has the right to demand anything from Ukraine.
The article written by Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov who is also the minister for the re-integration of temporarily occupied territories made Kozak even more nervous. Published on the site of The Atlantic Council, an American Atlanticist think tank in the field of international affairs, the article emphasizes the need “to revise the Minsk peace process and adapt the framework of the current dialog” to the present-day geopolitical realities. At the same time Reznikov stresses in his article that “Ukraine advocates for continuing the dialog within the framework of the Minsk process”.
“We maintain that Minsk has become obsolete and must be revised”, the Ukrainian Vice Premier argues. In his words, “the situation is different today as we begin to interpret the Minsk agreements openly and sincerely”. The minister went on to say in his article that “for the first time Zelenskyy has articulated the official position of Ukraine that no special status of Donbas will ever be written down in the Constitution. The other thing is the Ukrainian control over the border and only then the elections”.
In the words of the Russian official Dmitri Kozak, if Reznikov’s opinion will not be confirmed or refuted by the Ukrainian authorities, then “it will in fact mean that Ukraine withdraws from the Minsk agreements and consequently from the Minsk and Normandy formats of talks on the settlement of the conflict in Donbas”.
The Kremlin was rather careful in stating its position. Last Sunday, Dmitri Peskov, the press secretary of Vladimir Putin, while commenting on the results of the operative meeting of the Security Council of the Russian Federation said that the absence of any dynamics of the Donbas issue called forth a lot of disappointment. “Kyiv has done nothing to implement the Minsk agreements and Paris decisions and continues to do nothing”, Peskov said.
Meanwhile, many political analysts say that demanding from Kyiv the implementation of the Minsk agreements, Russia itself has long since withdrawn from them as it has been ignoring them from 2015, the year they were signed, until today. “It is Moscow that is responsible for the disruption of the reached agreements. It is Russia that can be considered the side that has withdrawn from the Minsk agreements long ago. To begin with, this document called for ceasefire as far back as on February 15, 2015. What did Russia do on that day? It continued controlling the combat operation to capture the Ukrainian town of Debaltsevo. Russia is true to the Minsk agreements in words only. In fact, it ignores all provisions stipulated by them. According to Moscow’s understanding of the situation, only Ukraine must implement these agreements. In other words, everything boils down to one-side concessions”, said Serhiy Solodkiy, an analyst of the Ukrainian Center “New Europe”.
The killing of a Ukrainian medical worker on July 13 testifies to the truth of everything said by Solodkiy. According to an earlier reached agreement between the warring sides, the paramedic tried to evacuate the body of a soldier killed in the morning of that day.
“After the regime ‘Silence’ was confirmed, the evacuation team in white helmets with identification marks set out to help the wounded. The team was a few meters from the body of a fallen soldier as the enemy opened fire from rifles. The team retreated but one paramedic hurried to help the injured soldier. At that moment, the enemy began firing from grenade launchers and large-caliber machine guns. The paramedic was killed, one soldier killed and another wounded”, a military report of the Ukrainian army said.
The Joint Forces Operation headquarters referred to this incident “as the strong evidence that the Russian Federation and pro-Russian separatists are not going to keep any international legal norms”.
The murder of the Ukrainian paramedic in Donbas is a military crime. That’s what Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said about the incident.
He said, “We will call the attention of our partners. The incident will be made public as wide as possible. The killing of a medical worker who tried to give help to a wounded soldier is more than a tragedy”.
The newspaper Holos Ukrainy