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Political part of Minsk Accords for Ukraine harder to enforce than truce

March 16, 2015, 19:12 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
©  ITAR-TASS/Artiom Geodakyan

MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Forging mutual consent over to the rules of granting a special status to some territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east of Ukraine will be far harder than bringing hostilities to an end, polled experts have told TASS.

Last Saturday was the last, 30th day of the deadline that had been set for the Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko to ensure the adoption of a bill on determining the status of some districts of Donbas and special rules of local self-government. He assumed the obligation under the February 12 package of measures to enforce the Minsk Accords. Late Saturday night Poroshenko submitted a corresponding bill to the Verkhovna Rada, which is now to be considered on March 17. The draft, made public on the Ukrainian parliament’s website, says the territories where a temporary regimen of local self-government will be in effect for a certain period of time includes the areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics beyond the line of disengagement between the rival factions, established under the Minsk Accords of September 19, 2014.

The director of the Political Studies Institute, Sergey Markov, says: "The conditions of determining the border between border some territories of Donbas and the rest of Ukrainian territory, enshrined in the Minsk Accords of September 19, 2014, and confirmed by a package of measures to enforce them, adopted on February 12, 2015 are utterly unacceptable for the militias. Otherwise Kiev would retain control of Debaltsevo and a number of other localities and the ruins of the Donetsk Airport — in other words, areas that saw fierce fighting just recently and which at the moment the February 12 agreements were signed were under the militias’ control."

"The militias cannot afford to recognize the border of the special status territories the Ukrainian president has proposed, and this is precisely what Poroshenko counts on," Markov said. "This explains why he has not notified the leaders of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics of the contents of the document he had submitted to the Verkhovna Rada. In this way Poroshenko demonstrates his reluctance to comply with the political part of the Minsk Peace Accords, such as the constitutional reform, the lifting of the economic and financial blockade from Donbas, and so on," Markov said.

"Apart from the bill on the special status of some Donbas territories Poroshenko in a public statement put forward the demand all political parties registered in Ukraine, including the outspokenly nationalist ones, should be allowed to participate in the local elections of Donbas territories. But this is nonsense: letting those parties whose supporters from the volunteer and national guard battalions had been killing Donbas civilians participate in the elections," he remarked said.

"While submitting to parliament a bill on the special status of the Donbas area’s militias-controlled territories Poroshenko has been pushing ahead with the mobilization of the Ukrainian army with the aim to build up its strength to 250,000, purchasing weapons from the EU countries, and inviting foreign military instructors. This may indicate an intention to order the Ukrainian army to mount another offensive against Donbas in May, thereby overshadowing Russia’s May 9 celebrations on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany in World War II," Markov believes.

"For the Donetsk and Luhansk leaders and for the people of Donbas it would be utterly unacceptable to give back to Kiev the territories regained from the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the paramilitary battalions. Therefore the political part of the Minsk Accords will be far harder to enforce than the ceasefire and pullback of heavy weapons from the disengagement line," the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Konstantin Sivkov, has told TASS.

"As one can see in Ukrainian media reports, Poroshenko’s bill on the special status of some Donbas territories does not envisage the self-proclaimed republics’ rights to have their own armed police (in other words, to legalize the militia units), or conduct their own economic policies and foreign economic transactions. In other words, it is a discriminatory document, the militias’ refusal to accept it would be tantamount to Kiev’s preparations for another spring offensive against Donbas," Sivkov believes.

Some experts believe that in the current situation the best way out would be to freeze the status quo in the east of Ukraine for sometime. "When the tide of emotion subsides, it will be easier to come to terms. I believe that the leaders of the Normandy quartet will achieve this," the president of the Euro-Atlantic Cooperation Association, Anatoly Adamishin, has told TASS. "I do not rule out that the conflict in the east of Ukraine will be frozen: not now, though, but by the end of the year, when the West exhausts the political resource for supporting the Kiev authorities in their policies," Markov said.


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