MOSCOW, February 16. /TASS/. The Minsk Agreements have no alternative as a basis for resolving the conflict in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Wednesday following the State Duma’s request addressed to President Vladimir Putin for recognizing the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, DPR and LPR.
"Firstly, the Minsk agreements are the sole basis for settling the conflict in Donbass, which has no alternative," she said. "I would like to recall that in February 2015, when the [Minsk] package of measures was signed, Donetsk and Lugansk agreed to remain in Ukraine on the condition they will be guaranteed a special status under the Constitution and Ukraine’s government system will be decentralized."
"As far as the message is concerned, I would like to draw your attention to the president’s words once again. We are obliged to do our utmost for resolving the existing problem, this conflict, the problem of Donbass, in the first place proceeding from the opportunities that have not been used to the full extent to implement the Minsk agreements that there exist," Zakharova said.
She pointed out that the Minsk package of measures was still very far from the full implementation.
"In fact, a counter-plan to the Minsk package has been enforced, if you don’t mind my saying so. Ukraine in recent years passed a number of laws that obviously contradict it," Zakharova said.
The State Duma on Tuesday voted for a message to the Russian president calling for the recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. On Wednesday, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin had taken into account the State Duma’s call for the recognition of the DPR and LPR, but such recognition did not correlate with the Minsk agreements.
The plan for a peace settlement in Donbass relies on the Minsk agreements, achieved in February 2015. Among other things they envisage ceasefire, pullback of weapons, amnesty, resumption of economic relations and a flexible constitutional reform in Ukraine. The authorities in Kiev have repeatedly professed their readiness to act on these agreements, but in fact have ignored them for many years. In particular, Kiev refuses to have a direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk and objects to granting Donbass a special status. Also, it procrastinates on the negotiations in the Contact Group.