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It takes action by all signatories to implement Minsk Accords on Ukraine

December 22, 2015, 16:14 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© Mykola Lazarenko/Ukrainian presidential press service/TASS

MOSCOW, December 22. /TASS/. The European Union’s decision to prolong anti-Russian sanctions on the pretext the Minsk Accords on ways of settling the Ukrainian crisis have failed to be implemented to this day looks illogical, because it takes at least four parties to comply with their terms - Kiev, the authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics, Russia and the European Union, polled experts have told TASS.

The European Union’s decision to prolong anti-Russian sanctions up to July 31, 2016 took effect on Tuesday. The EU’s resolution says the sanctions will stay in effect till the full compliance with the Minsk Accords of February 2015 on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis has been achieved. The sanctions envisage a freeze on loans to Russian state-run banks, a ban on the supplies of oil equipment from the European Union and on the conclusion of new arms import and export contracts, as well as the export of dual purpose products to Russia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry says "the conflict in Ukraine should be blamed not on Russia, but on the current authorities in Kiev, who tried used force in an attempt to quash the Donbass people’s disagreement with the government coup in Kiev in February 2014." The Russian Foreign Ministry is certain that the situation will change, if the European Union persuades Kiev to comply with the Minsk package of measures approved by the UN Security Council’s resolution 2202.

The general director of the Russian Council for International Affairs, Andrey Kortunov, sees a glaring contradiction in the fact Russia and the Western countries pool efforts in the struggle with international terrorism but at the same time remain divided over approaches to the implementation of the Minsk Accords on Ukraine.

"Our Western partners have said more than once that joint plans for fighting against international terrorism with Russia and for settling the Syrian and Middle East crises by no means spell a change in the US and EU stance on Ukraine. Washington and Brussels claim that it is too early to say the Minsk Accords have been implemented. The lifting or easing of anti-Russian sanctions will depend on progress in the political settlement of the conflict in the southeast of Ukraine will be achieved in six months’ time," Kortunov said.

In his opinion the text of the Minsk Accords is too short and its wording is very general, so Ukraine interprets them in its favour. "For Kiev, a special status for Donbass is the most painful issue," Kortunov said. "Kiev is to guarantee autonomy to Donetsk and Lugansk, immunity from prosecution to all militias, and a special status of the Russian language. But the current lineup of forces in the Ukrainian parliament as it is, President Pyotr Poroshenko cannot afford to comply with this item of the Minsk Accords."

Kiev’s breach of this fundamental provision that constitutes a corner stone of the Minsk Accords entails other problems.

"Without granting the status of an autonomy to Donbas Moscow will be unprepared to let Kiev regain full control of the Russian-Ukrainian border. Otherwise, the Kiev authorities would launch a punitive operation in the southeast again and its results for the pro-Russian citizens of Donbas would be deplorable," Kortunov said.

"We maintain that compliance with the Minsk Accords is a duty of at least four actors: Kiev, the Donetsk and Luhansk republics, Russia and the European Union. Saying that only Moscow or only President Vladimir Putin personally has defaulted on the Minsk accords would be at least illogical. All four parties shall be responsible for the achieved agreements. Our Western partners might have taken a more balanced stance, exerted pressures on the authorities in Kiev and agreed to bear part of the responsibility, and not put all the blame at Moscow’s door," Kortunov said.

The head of European political research at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Politics and the World Economy, Nadezhda Arbatova, says that some EU countries - Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, France, Cyprus and Greece - opposed the prolongation of anti-Russian sanctions but eventually voted in conformity with the European Commission’s stance.

Arbatova recalled that the European Commission’s President Jean-Claude Juncker last November dispatched a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin to underscore the importance of a good relationship between the European Union and Moscow. In a TV documentary entitled World Order, aired by Russia’s Rossiya-1 television channel just recently, Putin said that western sanctions would by no means make Russia "pout".

"In both Russia and the European Union there is the understanding that sanctions benefit no one. Russia is the European Union’s closest and largest neighbor. In order to break the current vicious circle positive shifts must be achieved in the coming year towards the implementation of the Minsk Accords by all signatories," Arbatova said.

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