Minsk agreements

Background to Minsk Agreements: Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Image Source- Indian Express
  • As part of the Soviet Union(USSR), Ukraine was the second-most powerful Soviet republic after Russia.
    • It was crucial strategically, economically and culturally.
    • Ever since Ukraine split from the Soviet Union, both Russia and the West have vied for greater influence in the country in order to keep the balance of power in the region in their favour.
  • Amid fears of growing Western influence in Ukraine, Russia invaded Crimea, which was a part of Ukraine.
  • Russia also began fomenting a separatist movement in eastern Ukraine, which is home to many who are ethnically Russian.

About the Agreement:

  • Parties to the Agreement- Ukraine and the Russian-backed separatists group in Ukraine.

Minsk I-Ukraine and the Russian-backed separatists agreed a 12-point ceasefire deal in the capital of Belarus in September 2014.

  • Provisions- prisoner exchanges, deliveries of humanitarian aid and the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

Result– The agreement quickly broke down, with violations by both sides.

MINSK II:

  • Representatives of Russia, Ukraine, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the leaders of two pro-Russian separatist regions signed a 13-point agreement in February 2015 in Minsk.
  • Disputed regions– Donetsk and Luhansk.
  • Provisions:
    • The 13 points were, in brief:

      1. An immediate and comprehensive ceasefire

      2. Withdrawal of all heavy weapons by both sides

      3. Monitoring and verification by the OSCE

      4. To start a dialogue on interim self-government for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in accordance with Ukrainian law, and acknowledge their special status by a resolution of parliament.

      5. A pardon and amnesty for people involved in the fighting

      6. An exchange of hostages and prisoners.

      7. Provision of humanitarian assistance.

      8. Resumption of socio-economic ties, including pensions.

      9. Restore full control of the state border by the government of Ukraine.

      10. Withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment and mercenaries.

      11. Constitutional reform in Ukraine including decentralisation, with specific mention of Donetsk and Luhansk.

      12. Elections in Donetsk and Luhansk on terms to be agreed with their representatives.

      13. Intensify the work of a Trilateral Contact Group including representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE.

  • The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine gathered there at the same time and issued a declaration of support for the deal.

Result:

    • The deal set out a series of military and political steps that remain unimplemented.
    • A major blockage has been Russia’s insistence that it is not a party to the conflict and therefore is not bound by its terms.
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