MOSCOW, September 16. /TASS/. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said on Wednesday that "serious questions" had been raised in Moscow regarding Kiev’s plans to fulfil the Minsk ceasefire agreements.
Asked whether it would be possible to fully implement the latest Minsk accords, agreed in February, by the end of this year, Karasin said: "We assume that the four leaders [of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France] on February 12 approved these Minsk agreements, and everyone is seeking to follow the spirit and letter of these accords except for Kiev, as it turns out."
"This is raising serious questions about the Kiev authorities’ intentions," the diplomat added.
Last week, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ruled out the possibility of extending the Minsk agreements for 2016. "I asked Leonid Kuchma, my representative at the Contact Group, to cancel the statement that the Minsk process can be continued in 2016. No, everyone should fulfil the commitment within 2015," Poroshenko said.
According to the Minsk accords, all points of the deal, especially the constitutional reform with consideration of separate areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, should be implemented by the end of 2015.
On Thursday, former Ukrainian President Kuchma said that the Contact Group on the settlement of the situation in Donbass announced it was necessary to extend the Minsk agreements for 2016 if they were not fully implemented by the end of 2015.
The February 12 peace deal, brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias starting from February 15.
This was to be followed by withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of military engagement by at least 15 kilometres (9 miles), prisoner release and agreement for international observers to monitor the truce.
Based on September’s stillborn Minsk peace protocol, the deal also laid out a road map for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give the war-torn eastern regions more autonomy.
The Ukrainian forces and the self-defence forces of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk have repeatedly accused each other of violating the ceasefire and other points of the Minsk agreements.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the violence in Ukraine has killed 6,500 people in the past year, wounded 16,000 and left 5 million people in need of humanitarian aid. With more than 1.3 million registered IDPs, Ukraine has now the ninth largest number of internally displaced in the world, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.