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    November 29, 2017

    Zombie Sanctions: Ukraine admits Minsk Accords dead, but the sanctions pinned to them live on

    November 29, 2017 - Fort Russ News -
    - Op-ed by Tom Winter -

    The Minsk Accords, a symbolic illustration


    Where are the sanctions now that Ukraine has admitted the Minsk Accords were: 

    a) just a clever ploy from the beginning, b) dead, and c) buried?


    Each time that the sanctions have come up, usually for a pro-forma extension of them, Minsk has been the linchpin. Examples:

    "The European Union’s policy toward Moscow will not change as long as Russia fails to fulfill the Minsk agreements, EU High Representative on Foreign and Security Policy Frederica Mogherini said on Monday.” 

    And there is this, from March of this year:

    BERLIN (Reuters) - Europe and the United States should keep sanctions in place against Russia until there is progress in implementing the 2015 Minsk accords aimed at ending the violence in eastern Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.“It is important that Europe and the United States present a unified front and stick to the sanctions against Russia until there is progress in implementing the Minsk agreements,” Gabriel said in an interview with the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper, to be published on Saturday.


    Not one word about Ukraine fulfilling the accords. But now that the accords are dead, when may we expect a reexamination of the anti-Russian sanctions?

    This writer is not holding his breath. And of course, there will always be the Crimea. Crimea, of course, is Ur-Russisch, essentially Russian. But when it suits the West, self-determination, as in the UN Charter, is "against International Law."


    De Facto and De Jure

    Now that one side has proclaimed Minsk accords dead, we have a death certificate. In actuality, the accords were dead on arrival. Of course Western Policy was always blind to the Ukrainian daily violations of the ceasefires -- a blindness that made a joke of the liturgy “Until Russia fulfills the Minsk Accords.” 

    It has long been obvious with every bombardment of civilian dwellings in the self-proclaimed Republics of Lugansk and Donetsk, that Ukraine had never intended to fulfill the Minsk Accords, either Minsk I or Minsk II. As the Italian journalist Vauro Senesi put it in December 2014, “It is impossible not to see a planned program of ethnic cleansing.” He had toured the bombed out village of Prvomaisk.

    And the western press, when it did acknowledge that civilian areas were under the bombs in the early days of the war on the newly-independent Republics, pretended not to know who was doing the bombing, a situation duly satirized in the pages of Fort Russ.

    For reader convenience and reference, we append below the translated full text of Minsk II. We resist the temptation, at every point, to interject sarcasm.

    Read it and judge for yourself who is fulfilling or not fulfilling the terms:


    • Immediate and full ceasefire in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts of Ukraine and its strict fulfilment as of 00.00 midnight (Kiev time) on Feb. 15, 2015.

    • Pull-out of all heavy weapons by both sides to equal distance with the aim of creation of a security zone on minimum 50 kilometres apart for artillery of 100mm calibre or more, and a security zone of 70km for MLRS and 140 kilometres for MLRS Tornado-S, Uragan, Smerch and tactical missile systems Tochka U.

    – for Ukrainian troops, from actual line of contact;

    – for armed formations of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts of Ukraine, from the contact line in accordance with the Minsk memorandum as of Sept. 19, 2014

    The pullout of the above mentioned heavy weapons has to start no later than the second day after the ceasefire and finish within 14 days.


    • This process will be assisted by OSCE with the support of the Trilateral Contact Group.

    • Effective monitoring and verification of ceasefire regime and pullout of heavy weapons by OSCE will be provided from the first day of pullout, using all necessary technical means such as satellites, drones, radio-location systems etc.

    • On the first day after the pullout a dialogue is to start on modalities of conducting local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian legislation and the Law of Ukraine “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts,” and also about the future of these districts based on the above mentioned law.

    • Without delays, but no later than 30 days from the date of signing of this document, a resolution has to be approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, indicating the territory which falls under the special regime in accordance with the law “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts,” based in the line set up by the Minsk Memorandum as of Sept. 19, 2014.

    • Provide pardon and amnesty by way of enacting a law that forbids persecution and punishment of persons in relation to events that took place in particular departments of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts of Ukraine.

    • Provide release and exchange of all hostages and illegally held persons, based on the principle of “all for all”. This process has to end – at the latest – on the fifth day after the pullout (of weapons).

    • Provide safe access, delivery, storage and distribution of humanitarian aid to the needy, based on an international mechanism.

    • Define the modalities of a full restoration of social and economic connections, including social transfers, such as payments of pensions and other payments (income and revenue, timely payment of communal bills, restoration of tax payments within the framework of Ukrainian legal field)

    • With this aim, Ukraine will restore management over the segment of its banking system in the districts affected by the conflict, and possibly, an international mechanism will be established to ease such transactions.

    • Restore full control over the state border by Ukrainian government in the whole conflict zone, which has to start on the first day after the local election and end after the full political regulation (local elections in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts based on the law of Ukraine and Constitutional reform) by the end of 2015, on the condition of fulfilment of Point 11 – in consultations and in agreement with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group.

    • Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.

    • Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with the new Constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralisation (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts), and also approval of permanent legislation on special status of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts in accordance with the measures spelt out in the footnotes, by the end of 2015.




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    Item Reviewed: Zombie Sanctions: Ukraine admits Minsk Accords dead, but the sanctions pinned to them live on Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Tom Winter
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