Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Minsk Memorandum. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Minsk Memorandum. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τετάρτη, Φεβρουαρίου 18, 2015

Germany says peace plan for Ukraine 'damaged' not dead

Germany condemned the seizure of a strategic east Ukrainian town by pro-Russian rebels on Wednesday as a "massive violation" of a ceasefire, but said it was too early to call the broader Minsk peace plan dead or ratchet up sanctions against Moscow.

The withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the encircled town of Debaltseve on Wednesday was a blow to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's efforts to clinch a negotiated solution to the year-long conflict that has claimed thousands of lives.

But Berlin appears to be hoping that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who the West accuses of actively supporting the rebels, will respect other aspects of a peace plan agreed last year in the Belarus capital, now that the rebels have achieved their goal of capturing Debaltseve.
Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert pointed to a resolution by the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday as a positive signal. Backed by Russia, the resolution called on all parties in eastern Ukraine to stop fighting and to implement the Minsk peace deal.

"The German government resolutely condemns the military actions by the separatists in Debaltseve. It is a massive violation of the ceasefire that went into effect on Sunday," Seibert said.
"We believe the Minsk process is under strain, it has perhaps been damaged, but we still believe it makes sense to continue working. The UN resolution appears to send a signal in the right direction."

Merkel, speaking later at a gathering of her conservative party in eastern Germany, did not mention the developments in Debaltseve, but said she wanted to work with Russia, not against it, to restore peace in Europe.

Some German politicians, including Juergen Hardt, a defense expert in her Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said the siege of the town was reason to consider tough new sanctions against Moscow.
But Merkel's spokesman was more cautious, saying more punitive measures hinged on developments on the ground in eastern Ukraine.
"If the fighting doesn't stop after the fall of Debaltseve, new sanctions are likely," said Ulrich Speck of the Carnegie Europe think tank.
"I don't think yet that the 'nuclear economic option', cutting off Russia from SWIFT, is going to happen," he added, referring to the international bank transaction system.
Although Merkel's pursuit of dialogue with Putin is popular at home, the rebel advance has left her vulnerable to critics abroad, among them hawks in the U.S. Congress, who have accused her of naively persisting with diplomacy in the face of repeated broken promises by Putin.
In a statement on Tuesday, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham accused Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, who negotiated the ceasefire last week with Putin and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, of "legitimizing the dismemberment of a sovereign nation in Europe".
They have called on President Barack Obama to send defensive arms to the Ukrainian army, a step Merkel opposes and cautioned against during a visit to Washington earlier this month. The rebel siege of Debaltseve could increase pressure on the president to ignore her warnings and send such weapons.
"The open question is what Putin does now," said a senior German official who requested anonymity.
"Is Debaltseve another step in a process that goes even further or does Putin now have an interest in sticking to the other aspects of the Minsk agreement? If Minsk does fall apart then there will have to be consequences." 

Δευτέρα, Νοεμβρίου 03, 2014

West slams leadership votes in east Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has not officially responded to the vote yet.

Pro-Russian separatists in the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk went to the polls to choose leaders for their self-proclaimed republics, bringing the rebellion in the country's industrialized east to a climax in a move likely to exacerbate tensions between Russia and the West over the Ukraine crisis.

Alexander Zakharchenko, 38, a mining electrician-turned-rebel leader, on Monday won the election for leadership of the "Donetsk People's Republic (DPR)," the separatists' political and military stronghold in eastern Ukraine.

The Mir Luganshchine (Peace to Luhansk Region) movement, headed by Igor Plotnitsky, a former Soviet army officer, won the election in the "Luhansk People's Republic (LPR)," reported Russia's TASS news agency.

Ukraine's pro-Western president, Petro Poroshenko, denounced the vote on Sunday night as a "farce [conducted] under the barrels of tanks and machine guns." He said it violated a internationally brokered truce deal reached in the Belarussian capital, Minsk, which had also been signed by Russia on September 5.

Europe on Monday warned Russia to respect Ukraine's unity. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the elections went "against the letter and spirit" of the Minsk agreement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert also said Monday that current developments in eastern Ukraine ruled out any premature lifting of EU economic sanctions against Russia and if the situation worsened, further sanctions may be necessary.

Earlier, EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini issued a statement slamming the polls as "a new obstacle on the path toward peace in Ukraine."

The angry European response raised the temperature in the West's dispute with Russia, which has repeatedly denied supporting separatists in east Ukraine.

The US has also advised Russia not to use the election results as an excuse for bringing troops into Ukraine, Mark Stroh, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, told TASS on Monday. "The United States will not recognize any results announced from this so-called 'election,'" Stroh added.

Despite tough statements from the West and the risk of additional sanctions, Russia backed the separatist elections after the voting results were released.

  • "We respect the will expression of the residents of [Ukraine's] southeast. The elected representatives have got the mandate for their practical efforts aimed at the restoration of normal life in the regions," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement Monday.
  • "We are ready to constructively promote the Ukrainian crisis settlement together with our international partners," said the statement.

Separatist leaders described the polls as a step toward formalizing their de facto independence from Ukraine after seven months of fighting in which the United Nations says more than 4,000 people have died.

  • However, Kiev will likely to continue attempts to resolve the rebellion by force following the elections, analysts believe.
  • "The Ukrainian army is still numerically superior. The party of war in Kiev is strong. Kiev will not recognize these elections and this means that shelling and provocations will continue until the resumption of armed actions," Sergey Mikheyev, director general of the Caspian Cooperation Institute in Russia, told TASS.

Moscow on Monday also went on to urge Kiev to cancel military operations in southeast Ukraine, Russian State Secretary and Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told TASS on Monday after the elections.

Karasin said that the elected representatives of the DPR and LPR "have enough powers to develop a stable dialogue with Kiev authorities."

"There is one more condition - the commitment to the Minsk agreements on September 5 and 19," he added, seemingly in response to wide denunciations from the West.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has not officially responded to the vote yet. His first word could come on Tuesday when he is due to appear at a Red Square ceremony in Moscow marking National Unity day.

Πέμπτη, Οκτωβρίου 30, 2014

Russian FM statement on the implementation of the Minsk agreements on a settlement in Ukraine and elections in its southeastern regions

From the Official Website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (Statements and speeches):

Considering the ultimatum issued by Kiev and some Western capitals that elections not be held in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, it would be logical to remind the following.
In accordance with the Minsk agreements reached in September this year by representatives of the President of Ukraine and the self-defence forces of southeastern Ukraine with the mediation of Russia and the OSCE, these elections can be held between 19 October and 3 November of this year.
The argument that the law on a special self-government procedure for these regions, which Petr Poroshenko signed on 16 October, has set 7 December as the election date contradicts the Minsk agreements. This date, 7 December, was added to the law arbitrarily and unilaterally, without consulting the self-defence forces.
Moreover, this law cannot be applied in practise because it does not identify the area it applies to. The issue of identification has been suspended pending an additional decision by the Verkhovna Rada, which cannot be taken because Kiev has withdrawn its signature from the document that set out the disengagement line between the Ukrainian and the self-defence forces. The situation has been further complicated by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s refusal to implement the 16 October law signed by Petr Poroshenko.
Kiev has also violated other provisions of the Minsk agreements. It continues to bomb the regions controlled by the self-defence forces contrary to the ceasefire terms. It has not adopted, contrary to its pledge, acts on amnesty and security guarantees for the representatives of the self-defence forces that attended the Minsk talks. It has not honoured the provisions on the decentralisation of authority and continuation of a nationwide dialogue. The Kiev government is not fulfilling its commitment to improve the humanitarian situation in Donbass and is creating artificial obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian aid from Russia.
The Minsk agreements also stipulate the adoption of an economic revival programme for Donbass. But politicians in Kiev said after the parliamentary election [on 26 October] that this assistance would be provided only to those regions in southeastern Ukraine that accept Kiev’s authority, which directly contradicts the letter and spirit of the Minsk Protocol.
Overall, it appears that our partners’ arguments against the 2 November elections are designed to delay them as long as possible, probably in the hope that the problems in the region would grow with the coming winter and hence influence voter mood and the turnout.
In this situation, the self-defence forces’ intention to hold the elections on 2 November is completely legitimate and fully in keeping with the temporal parameters coordinated in Minsk. Adequate authorities must be created without delay in southeastern Ukraine, so that they can address the critically important issues of the regions’ vital needs, including law and order.
Efforts to bring about a settlement in southeastern Ukraine are being taken in an extremely difficult and even conflicting situation. The main task now is to do everything necessary to maintain the fragile truce and to begin the region’s economic and humanitarian revival and sustained political dialogue. Attempts to select one of the interconnected provisions of the Minsk agreements – the election date – without good reason or even in the form of an ultimatum, and to use it to judge the sides’ “behaviour” could derail the peace process and make it a hostage to geopolitical ambitions. We cannot rule out that those who advance these ultimatums want to destroy the Minsk agreements, just as they destroyed the agreement of 21 February 2014, and to gain a pretext for resuming the hostilities in southeastern Ukraine.
Russia strongly urges the sides to prevent this and instead to provide general assistance to turn the 2 November elections into another step towards normalisation and comprehensive settlement of the crisis in Ukraine.
We would like to remind everyone that before the meeting in Minsk the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics publicly put forth their negotiating stands, which stipulated, in part, that free elections held in these regions based on the principles of self-government would create conditions for a cooperative effort to keep Ukraine united economically, culturally and politically.
Russia will encourage the election winners in southeastern Ukraine to act towards this proclaimed goal. We also expect the Kiev authorities and their Western partners, as well as the OSCE, to act faithfully to fulfil the Minsk agreements. The 2 November elections can be used not to recklessly foster tensions without good reason, but to nudge the situation towards a constructive path of dialogue based on mutual respect and the search for compromise on the basis of a balance of the sides’ legitimate interests, as is stipulated in the documents signed within the framework of the Minsk process.

Τετάρτη, Οκτωβρίου 29, 2014

Ukraine: Ban deplores planned holding of November ‘elections’ by rebel groups

UN, 29 October 2014 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today deplored the planned holding by armed rebel groups in eastern Ukraine of their own “elections” on 2 November, calling the potential polls a “breach of the constitution and national law.”

“These ‘elections’ will seriously undermine the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, which need to be urgently implemented in full,” Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York.
Reiterating the importance of restoring stability and safeguarding Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Secretary-General through the statement urged all sides to uphold all parts of the Protocol, an agreement signed in the Belarussian capital in September by representatives of the Russian Federation, Ukraine and opposition groups.

Tensions in Ukraine came to a head after months of political unrest led to the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych in February. This was followed by increased political pressures in the country’s autonomous region of Crimea, where Russian military were subsequently deployed and a secession referendum was held in mid-March, in which the majority of the region’s people voted to join Russia.

Πέμπτη, Σεπτεμβρίου 25, 2014

G-7 Foreign Ministers' Joint Statement on Ukraine (U.S. State Department)

Office of the Spokesperson, New York City, September 25, 2014:
The text of the following statement was released by the Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and High Representative of the European Union:

Begin Text:
"We, the Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the High Representative of the European Union, express our continued grave concern on the situation in eastern Ukraine.
We welcome the Minsk agreements of 5 and 19 September as an important step towards a sustainable, mutually agreed cease-fire, a secure Russian-Ukrainian border and the return of peace and stability to eastern Ukraine with the establishment of a “special status” zone, which is to be empowered with a strong local self-government under Ukrainian law. We condemn the ongoing violations of the ceasefire agreement.
The ceasefire agreement offers an important opportunity to find a durable political solution to the conflict, in full respect of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia must immediately meet its own commitments of the Minsk agreement, including by withdrawing all of its forces, weapons and equipment from Ukraine; securing and respecting the international border between the two countries with OSCE monitoring; and ensuring that all hostages are released. Russia must also ensure that all commitments of the Minsk agreement be met and the political process within Ukraine continues. We commend the efforts Ukraine has made to implement its responsibilities under the Minsk agreement, such as passing legislation on amnesty and a “special status” for parts of eastern Ukraine.
We commend the OSCE´s key role through the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) and within the Trilateral Contact Group in helping de-escalate the crisis. The OSCE has been assigned a crucial role as the monitoring mechanism in the implementation of the Minsk agreement, which we fully support. We call on all OSCE states to help provide the organization all support necessary to fulfill these responsibilities, and to support an expansion of the SMM . We urge the Governments of Russia and Ukraine to fully facilitate and support this expansion.
We reiterate our condemnation of Russia’s illegal attempted annexation of Crimea.
We reiterate our condemnation of the downing of the Malaysia Airlines aircraft on 17 July 2014 with the loss of 298 innocent lives and welcome the internationally respected recent publication of the preliminary report on the tragedy. We call for immediate, safe and unrestricted access to the crash site to enable independent experts to swiftly conclude their investigations, also in order to hold accountable those responsible for the event.
On the threshold of the coming winter, Ukraine faces difficult economic and social challenges, partially caused by the conflict forced upon the country. We commit ourselves to help Ukraine to recover from this massive economic setback and to rebuild its economy. To this end we will closely work together and coordinate with other donors and international financial institutions. We welcome the upcoming donors’ and investors’ conferences organized by Ukraine with the support of the European Union. We encourage the Ukrainian leadership to continue with necessary political, economic and rule of law-related reforms. We trust that the early parliamentary elections will be free, fair and fully in line with international standards.
We stand united in the expectation that this crisis will be solved with respect for international law, and Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. In the course of the past weeks, we have put in place additional coordinated sanctions affecting Russia. Sanctions are not an end in themselves; they can only be rolled back when Russia meets its commitments related to the cease fire and the Minsk agreements and respects Ukraine’s sovereignty. In case of adverse action, however, we remain ready to further intensify the costs on Russia for non-compliance.
We welcome the ratification of the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) by the European Parliament and the Verkhovna Rada on 16 September. In accordance with the agreement reached at the trilateral meeting between the EU, Ukraine and Russia on 12 September on the implementation of the DCFTA, the EU intends to postpone the provisional application of the trade-related provisions until 31 December 2015, while maintaining the EU’s autonomous trade measures to the benefit of Ukraine, as agreed upon at the trilateral meeting between the EU, Ukraine and Russia on 12 September. This will help stabilize the Ukrainian economy in this difficult time. We welcome that the trilateral talks between Ukraine, Russia and the EU will continue. It is equally important to continue the discussions between Russia, Ukraine and the EU on resolving outstanding energy issues"

Σάββατο, Σεπτεμβρίου 20, 2014

Parties at Minsk Talks Agree on Memorandum Regulating Ukrainian Ceasefire Implementation (MINSK MEMORANDUM, 20.09.14)

Kiev authorities and pro-independence fighters in southeastern Ukraine have agreed on complete ceasefire, establishment of the buffer zone, withdrawal of heavy weapons away from the contact line on both sides, and deployment of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring mission.

Early Saturday morning parties at the talks in Minsk – Russia, Ukraine, the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's republics and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – aligned positions and formulated a memorandum of nine provisions that will regulate the implementation of a ceasefire agreement between Kiev and independence supporters in eastern Ukraine. Leonid Kuchma, former Ukrainian president representing the country at the talks, read out the provisions of the memorandum at the conclusion of the talks.


1. Ceasefire is to be considered bilateral.

2. Military elements and military formations shall be stopped at their contact line as of September 19.

3. Usage of all kinds of weapons and offensive actions are prohibited.

4. Within 24 hours after the approval of this memorandum weapons with a calibre of more than 100 millimeters shall be moved at least 15 kilometers away from the contact line on both sides, including from the residential areas, which would create an opportunity to establish a 30-kilometers buffer zone.

5. Deployment of heavy weapons and heavy equipment in the region confined by the residential areas [Kuchma did not specify which areas are listed in the memorandum] is prohibited.

6. Placing of mine barriers at the border of the buffer zone is prohibited. Mine barriers that were placed earlier within the buffer zone shall be removed.

7. Flights of operational aircrafts and foreign aerial vehicles except for the vehicles of the OSCE over the buffer zone are prohibited.

8. In the ceasefire zone the OSCE monitoring mission, consisting of the group of the organization's observers shall be deployed within 24 hours after the approval of this memorandum. It is desirable that the above mentioned zone shall be divided into sectors. The number of the sectors' borders shall be negotiated in the course of the preparation to the work of the OSCE monitoring mission's group of observers.

9. All the foreign armed groups, military equipment, as well as fighters and mercenaries shall withdraw from the Ukrainian territory under the supervision of the OSCE.


Minsk protocol, signed by the Trilateral negotiation group on September 5, addresses more issues and consists of 12 provisions. The protocol envisages a ceasefire and suggests, among other things, that Ukraine should adopt a law on granting special status to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and early elections of the heads of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics. The document also stipulates that the consent of the Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics with regard to the adoption of the law would not mean abandonment of their independence. The leaders of the self-defense forces also declared that they lay claim to all of the territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and would not consent to the "special status" only for the parts of the territories under their control.


September 16 Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, approved a law on special status of parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, submitted by President Petro Poroshenko. The law introduces self-administration, states that local elections are to take place in the regions on December 7 and guarantees the right to use Russian or any other language in Ukraine.

The law envisages that the local authorities would be able to make agreements with the central state bodies on economic, social and cultural development.

Moreover, these regions will be granted a special economic status, which will help to restore industry and infrastructure, as well as attract investments and create jobs.

The Contact Group on the Ukrainian crisis, comprising officials from Russia, Ukraine, the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's republics and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, began a new round of talks in Belorussian capital, Minsk, on Friday.

The agenda of the talks mainly focused on the discussion of a document that would regulate the implementation of a ceasefire agreement between Kiev and independence supporters in eastern Ukraine, reached on September 5.

The meeting of the group on September 5 resulted in a fragile ceasefire between Kiev and independence supporters in eastern Ukraine.

The five-months conflict has already killed over 3,000 people and wreaked havoc on Ukraine's economy, also leading to the biggest confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War.

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