MOSCOW, February 12. /TASS/. This Monday marks the third anniversary since the members of the Contact Group on the Settlement in Eastern Ukraine had inked an agreement in Minsk on February 12, 2015. This deal had been coordinated in advance with the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine). This document was given a stamp of approval by the UN Security Council and became a basis for all subsequent peace negotiations on Donbass.
The Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements stipulates a ceasefire, a withdrawal of armaments from the contact line, a swap of all prisoners, carrying out constitutional reform in Ukraine in order to establish "a special status for the isolated areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions" and so on. Most of these 13 items had specific deadlines, and the settlement was due to be wrapped up by the end of 2015. Three years have passed since then, and none of the items have been implemented so far.
Nevertheless, peace negotiations based on the agreements are continuing. Moscow, the EU and the US see the Minsk accords as the only way to settle the Ukrainian crisis. A permanently operating mechanism to address problems emerging in the conflict zone was launched, and the Contact Group convenes twice a month in Minsk to discuss it. Special topic-related groups have been established and are working to tackle political, humanitarian, and economic and security issues on the settlement.
These efforts helped suspend massive military action in Donbass. Several prisoner swaps were carried out, making it possible for over 500 people to return to their homes. Current issues concerning everyday problems among the local population are being addressed as well. Additional checkpoints are being set up along the contact line, water supply is being restored, and work to repair essential infrastructure is underway.