Simple answers to complicated questions about Donetsk and Luhansk
Should the Minsk agreements be implemented? Is there a war in Ukraine? Is Russia the aggressor? Are the Donetsk and Luhansk regions occupied? These issues became topical again when Europe and the senior officials of Ukraine started talking about the possibility of early elections in Donetsk and Luhansk.
Let’s read carefully the documents, which acquired the status of international rules more than a YEAR AGO.
On 17 February 2015, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2202 (2015), which in particular “1. Endorses the “Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements”, adopted and signed in Minsk on 12 February 2015 (Annex I); 2. Welcomes the Declaration by the President of the Russian Federation, the President of Ukraine, the President of the French Republic and the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany in support of the “Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements”, adopted and signed on 12 February 2015 in Minsk (Annex II) and their continuing commitment therein to the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.”
Declaration of the Normandy Four, adding nothing to the “Package of measures” (the main document of the Minsk II agreement), enshrines it with the signatures of four heads of the European states. Thus, the document, signed by members of the Trilateral Contact Group (H. Tagliavini, L. Kuchma, M. Zurabov, and (!!!) O. Zakharchenko and I. Plotnytskyi), acquires the status which is sufficient for consideration in the UN Security Council. The authority of the leaders of the Normandy Four and the UN Security Council legitimizes not only the provisions of the “Package of measures”, but also the status of its signatories. But whom do the last two of the five members who signed the “Package of measures” represent? To understand this, let’s turn to the text of the document. In its second paragraph, the opposing parties are the “Ukrainian troops” (which should move away from the de facto line of contact) and (!!!) the “armed formations from separate districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine” (which should move away from the line of contact according to the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014). So as it is possible to guess by process of elimination, O. Zakharchenko and I. Plotnytskyi represent these “armed formations”. It is to be recalled that ORDLO (“separate districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions”) is not an “empty” or “indefinite” term; otherwise the heads of the European states and the UN Security Council would not be able to use it. This term was filled with a specific and legitimate content by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, which adopted the Law “On the special order of local self-government in separate districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions” (No.1680-VII) as early as on September 16, 2014.
Thus, it seems that the essence of Eastern Ukrainian conflict for the world community reduces to the confrontation between Ukraine and the armed formations of ORDLO, recognized by Ukraine at the level of Ukrainian legislation and represented by O. Zakharchenko and I. Plotnytskyi. The President of Ukraine together with V. Putin, H. Tagliavini, and A. Merkel signed the Declaration, confirming all of the above said, what afforded ground for the UN Security Council to adopt the Resolution of 02.17.2016. It can be noted that the declamation “for domestic use” is radically different from the official position of Ukraine, with all its consequences.
We should realize that Minsk II has never been an internal affair of Ukraine, that the EU, the US and the UNO took part in its development and advancement, that is why it won’t be possible just to withdraw from these agreements (as our politicians often claim on TV). If we want to change the exit strategy of the military crisis, it is necessary not to waste time, but to look for the ways of its change, realizing the full responsibility imposed on us. Delaying with time and populist statements are merely a cover for political manipulations and economic abuses.