UNITED NATIONS, February 12. /TASS/. Donbass could have been reintegrated as a part of Ukraine had Kiev made any effort to honor the Minsk agreements, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said.
"The implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures was the best scenario of settling the Ukrainian crisis. The implementation of the Minsk agreements would have brought Donbass back to Ukraine if Ukraine had made this happen. First of all, it would have become a civilized country where everyone’s rights are equally respected, without any discrimination on political, linguistic or ethnic grounds," he said at a Russia-initiated UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine.
"People in Donbass did not want much - simply to live on their soil, have local self-government, speak the Russian language, teach their children in it and honor the memory of those who liberated this land from Nazism, not those who collaborated with the Nazis," he said. "They did not ask for more rights than ethnic minorities have in any country of Western Europe. But the new government responded to their calls with violence and blood."
A plan for peacefully settling the conflict in Donbass rests on the Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, that was signed by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, after marathon 16-hour talks between the leaders of the Normandy Four nations, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine. The 13-point document envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and the people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and the subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of contact to a distance of at least 50 kilometers. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including amnesty, prisoner swaps, the resumption of economic ties, local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions. Talks on its implementation continued until early 2022 when Kiev refused to fulfill the political items of the agreement.