The war in the Donbass: will there be a Minsk-3

February 12, marks exactly two years since the signing of the second capital of Belarus the Minsk agreements. Conceived as a political mechanism to end the military conflict in the Donbass, in fact, the Minsk agreements have extended the war for another two years, because Russia interpreterpath their own way. What brought this “peace process”, and whether to wait Minsk-3, to understand “Apostrophe”.


The need to upgrade the first Minsk agreement (signed on September 5, 2014) emerged in January 2015 when the Donbass resumed active hostilities. The leaders of “Norman Quartet”, except RF of course, it became clear that we need to agree on a cease-fire again. The strengthening of the Ukrainian position in negotiations then began, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. On the eve of the meeting in Minsk Frau Merkel spoke with President Obama, and as he wrote then, German and American media, the leaders of Germany and the United States addressed the issue of granting Ukraine lethal weapons in the event of failure of the peace talks.

This support for Ukraine was not included into plans of the Kremlin, and therefore the failure in the negotiations was not followed. Indeed, Putin did not have to promise Europe to pacify the militants, and as will be actually — that is another question. In the end, after 17 hours of talks the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France agreed on two documents: “Declaration on implementation of the Minsk agreements”, which actually declared that Minsk-1 to make “Complex of measures on implementation of Minsk agreements” in which it was described exactly how it should be implemented. In this Declaration the leaders of the “channel four” did not sign — the “assured words” (at this point, Putin is probably in tears), and a set of measures have fastened the autographs of the participants of the tripartite contact group Leonid Kuchma, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, OSCE representative Heidi Tagliavini, the leaders of the militants Zaharchenko and Carpentry.

According to the package of measures, February 15, 2015 in the Donbas came the silence, then the parties to the conflict had to withdraw from the contact line heavy weapons, to start a dialogue about the local elections, to release the prisoners, to restore the banking system in ORDO, in General the East of Ukraine on paper support back to civilian life.

But it is on paper, in reality it was debaltseve. After just 6 days after signing of the Minsk-2, the militants said they took the town, which, by the way, according to the same agreement had to be controlled by the APU. “We then hoped that the orcs will retreat, says “Apostrophe” soldier of the national guard, Sergei, who broke out of encirclement in Debaltsevo. — And why they had to leave? We really were surrounded, they shmalyaet with what is possible, and think about what separa suddenly leave their positions because of some papers that it is not clear what guarantees would be naive. I am sure that Putin in Minsk, told about a world, but this time out on “smoke breaks” and communicated with his generals, coordinating a meat grinder in the Debaltsevo”.

According to the armed forces, in the battle for debaltseve killed Ukrainian soldiers 136 331 another soldier was wounded.

That gave Minsk-2

To calculate the exact number of victims after the signing of the second Minsk agreements is difficult enough, but the number is growing every day. For example, in the first three months after the Minsk-2, the conflict has killed 400 people since the beginning of hostilities, according to the UN, killing about 10 thousand.

But if the people in the Donbas continue to die, while Minsk mechanism to enforce peace does not work, why Ukraine continues to hang on to him? The main argument adduced in defence of the agreements is the fact that shelling on the line of contact has become smaller. However, military expert Oleg Zhdanov explained, “Apostrophe”, that it is not “Peremoga”. “The decrease in the intensity at the line of contact was achieved by unilateral cease-fire with the APU on the basis of an order or orders of the Supreme commander. We have suffered losses, endured the attacks, most are not answered and only because of this decreased intensity of the fighting. As the best estimate of these agreements, we can quote the words of Angela Merkel, who said: “Minsk is not working.” Agreement was not given absolutely nothing, did not bring any benefit,” — said Zhdanov.

The second argument is the Minsk — 2 gave time for rearmament of the Ukrainian army and, accordingly, allowed to strengthen it. “Where is it re? What have we changed? I don’t think five of “Cougars” and 10 Trucks with the new re. Gift the Americans the station counterbattery struggle, too, not rearmament, the more of these stations are located in warehouses in places of permanent deployment and not even in the area of ATO. Yes, we have deployed the army, but it was in the second half of 2014, when took place the first three waves of mobilization. And another 30-40%, we increased the number of controls in the APU. That is, the bureaucracy grew by 40%,” — said Zhdanov.

Finally, the third argument is economic. The Minsk agreements are a kind of indicator of the sanctions: how they will act, so Russia doesn’t carry out them, and therefore of no lifting of sanctions cannot be considered. While this scheme works. Every six months, when the EU raises the issue of revising the sanctions against Russia, European leaders refer to the paragraphs of the Minsk-2, you come to the conclusion that Moscow did not fulfill and methodically extend sanctions. But how many will work this scheme is unknown, because in the light of the imminent elections in France and Germany, the authorities in these countries can come people who are not “assured by the words” of the Minsk agreements and no guarantees are given.

What’s next?

In conversation “not under record” many soldiers blamed Minsk-2 as a deterrent, which does not allow to conduct offensive operations and to adequately respond to shelling of militants. Moreover, Minsk-2 to separatist websites and criticize the leaders of the militants, the arguments are similar. However, experts believe that, if we just bury these agreements, Ukraine will only get worse. “If Ukraine refuses to agreements, taking into account the political trends in Germany and France, Ukraine might be close to that situation when in the conflict accused both sides, and we get warrants. This is extremely undesirable” — told the “Apostrophe” political analyst Andrei Zolotarev.

At the moment, the cornerstone of the implementation of Minsk-2 is the political part of the agreements. Although the first item is “an immediate and comprehensive cease-fire,” it is obvious that the regime of silence will be the result of a political compromise. This trade — off elections in the occupied territories. But the holding of elections in conditions when the state border in Donbas — a thoroughfare for women, holiday-makers, supporters of new Russia and the Russian military personnel in Ukraine nobody will. The truth is in the text of the agreements resolved border issue, but the solution written in such vague language that it is impossible to understand.

So, in paragraph 9 of the “package of measures to implement the Minsk agreements,” said: “the restoration of full control over the state border from the Ukrainian government throughout the conflict zone, which should begin on the first day after the local elections.” That is, in the morning election night-border. Although it is not clear why fighters need to give the border to Ukraine, if after the election their position will be legitimate. But we omit this point. Then it is said that complete restoration of control over the border should “after a comprehensive political settlement”. What’s with the “comprehensive political settlement” is explained immediately in parentheses. It was the “local elections in certain districts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions”. Thus, it appears that Ukraine in the first day after the elections must begin to regain the border, and then to complete the process.

Moreover, to conduct such elections, you must first change the Constitution, giving special status to the Donbas. “The political part of Minsk agreements proved to be unaffordable for Ukraine and simply had no political resource for its implementation. To recall the events at the Verkhovna Rada with a grenade (then the deputies discussed the presidential bill on the special status of Donbass — approx. ed.). The first approach to the realization of the political part turned into an acute political conflict,” adds Zolotarev.

The current stalemate forced Ukrainian politicians to consider the closure of the project “Minsk-2”. So, the Deputy Minister on the issues of the temporarily occupied territories of Georgiy Tuk has said that the Minsk agreement can be rewritten. “During these two years the Minsk agreements are not implemented. Because the first point is security. Without the first paragraph to talk about the second, third, twenty-fifth is illogical. At the same time, I don’t think that the Minsk agreement can not be rewritten. From my point of view they are, unfortunately (or was it done deliberately, or accidentally, I don’t know), are written in such a way that it does not have a single interpretation. And this is a huge problem, because each of the parties interpret them differently. So I, for one, fully admit that they can be rewritten,” said Tuck.

And the people’s Deputy Yegor Sobolev made a Minsk-3 as the best option for Putin. “He (Putin — approx. amended) the blood forces the Ukrainians to agree to the Minsk-1, Minsk-2, but now I think it will be — Minsk-3”, — Sobolev emphasized.

However, military expert Oleg Zhdanov convinced that Ukraine needs a completely different approach. “We need to change the “channel format”. How to do it? Simple individual decision: to declare to the world that we have going on. This civil conflict or external aggression. This will solve a million problems and will remove a lot of questions, especially from our Western partners, including, and Washington. After this decision, we calmly sit at the negotiation table and are looking for ways out of the crisis: diplomatic or by military means. Poroshenko on all platforms says we have external aggression, but the promise — not to marry. It’s one thing to talk the language, and another to publish the official document and a special appeal to the United Nations on the fact of aggression of the Russian Federation. These are two huge differences, as they say in Odessa”, — explained the military expert.

At the same time, senior analyst of the International centre for policy studies Anatoly Artisyuk, agreeing with the thesis that the Minsk format is not working in the project Minsk-3 in the near future believes.

“Now Poroshenko did not think about the new formats and how as long as possible to save power. For the Ukrainian authorities the situation is such that the change of the international situation, uncertainty in the Donbass, the disadvantage of the Minsk process contribute to a strong “hawkish” sentiment in political circles and among the elites. These constant provocations can push the Ukrainian side to the active phase of the war. So I am inclined to think that we are not waiting for the Minsk-3, and a new aggravation of the conflict, new war”, — concluded the expert.