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Zelensky’s accusations against Russia put in question Minsk-2 implementation, says expert

According to the expert, "no internal impulses" from the Ukrainian president have been yet observed concerning the implementation of Minsk-2

MOSCOW, September 25. /TASS/. Allegations, voiced by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in his address to the United Nations General Assembly, of "Russian aggression" put in question Kiev’s intentions to implement the Minsk accords, Vladimir Zharikhin, a deputy head of the Institute for CIS Studies, told TASS on Wednesday.

"Despite the fact that the tonality [of Ukrainian leadership’s statements] is somehow changing, actually the essence remains the same. Not only do not they recognize the Minsk accords, as they refuse to implement the provisions of granting total amnesty or a special status to Donbass republics, but it is the stance that Russia is an aggressor, that a war against Russia is raging on," he said. "It runs counter to the essence of the Minsk agreements which stipulate the forms and methods of resolving the intra-Ukrainian conflict."

"As long as Zelensky does not recognize the conflict as an intra-Ukrainian one, there is no point in talking with Ukraine about the implementation of the Minsk agreements," the expert stressed.

According to Zharikhin, "no internal impulses" from the Ukrainian president have been yet observed concerning the implementation of Minsk-2, in spite of brief contacts between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and Zelensky’s more open communication with Russian reporters, in comparison to former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko’s.

"Regrettably, we cannot expect the Ukrainian side to alter their stance. Rather, some external factors might force them to do it," the political analyst continued.

According to the expert, the Donald Trump administration could "cool down on the idea to define the situation in Ukraine," because under current circumstances, Zelensky would hardly take the US president’s side in the latter’s confrontation with his main opponent in the coming presidential poll, Joseph Biden. Therefore, the initiative of influencing Kiev might come to European counties that are enthusiastic to resolve the conflict in Donbass, the expert told TASS.

Ukraine’s president began his speech at the UN General Assembly with demonstrating a bullet as a proof of "Russian aggression" against his country. Along with this, Zelensky claimed that the end to the war and "recovering all occupied Ukrainian territories" were his primary goals, "but not at the cost of the lives of Ukrainians" or Ukraine’s right to own choice.

Minsk accords

Peace settlement of 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 envisages a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also lays out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and a constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.

Minsk-2 was approved in a joint declaration by the Russian, Ukrainian and French presidents along with the German chancellor. Later, the Package of Measures was approved by the UN Security Council in Resolution 2202. The Council urged all sides to ensure full implementation of the deal. Nonetheless, the plan has not yet been implemented. In particular, Kiev refused to implement political provisions of the Minsk package claiming that security issues were still unregulated.