Ambassador’s response to the article in the Economist “Bite the bullet. The Minsk peace deal is going nowhere”.
The war in Eastern Ukraine is not our choice. It was Russia who deliberately started it by insidiously sending its troops, military instructors, subversive units and other terrorists.
On a number of occasions President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has reiterated that there is no alternative to the Minsk. The peace deal has to work and all the parties have to stick to what they agreed upon. Russia is not an exception.
However, the time has proven that Russia has its own reading of the commitments undertaken within Minsk.
And that is exactly the reason why not a single part of the plan has been implemented:
- withdrawal by militants is fragmented;
- Russia continues packing Donbas with heavy weapons and military equipment. About 40000-strong army including over 7000 Russian regular troops stationed in Donbas continue with unfettered rotation, training and supply;
- agreements on the silence regime reached with Russia are violated by it immediately. Just imagine, since the Minsk agreements Russian forces and its terrorists have shelled Ukrainian Forces 18,000 times;
- the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission still has no full access to Ukraine’s Eastern border;
- Russia and militants still ignore what was agreed in Minsk – to release captives immediately and all for all.
Here I would like to remind that unlike Russia Ukraine ceased fire immediately, withdrew heavy weapons to designated sites, ensured the OSCE Mission unhindered access to all areas under the government’s control, launched the internal political process in terms of changes to the Constitution.
When it comes to local elections in Donbas let us be clear. There is just no chance to hold real democratic elections without withdrawal of troops/weapons, as well as creating secure and competitive environment with wide participation of Ukrainian parties and media.
In the meantime, the permanent breach of the Minsk agreements by the Russian Federation derails all the efforts undertaken by Ukraine and international community aimed at restoring peace and stability. The same is about other tracks: political settlement, humanitarian affairs, social and economic sphere.
Many can agree that the Minsk peace deal is going nowhere. But to put it as Ukraine’s fault is simply wrong. Unlike Russia we are more than interested to stop the war and bring peace to Ukrainians.