Ukrainian top official warns fulfillment of Minsk accords means ‘country’s destruction’
The fulfillment of the Minsk agreements would mean Ukraine’s "destruction,” Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told The Associated Press in an interview on Jan. 31.
He told AP that Ukraine needs to revise the 2015 deal signed in Minsk, Belarus, intended to provide a path to peace for the Donbas conflict in Ukraine’s eastern territories.
In Danilov’s view, the Minsk requirement that Ukraine provide autonomy to the Russian-occupied eastern Donbas region, and a sweeping amnesty for Russian proxy forces, would be catastrophic for Ukraine.
“When (the Minsk agreements) were signed under a Russian gun barrel – and the German and the French watched – it was already clear to all rational people that it’s impossible to implement those documents,” Danilov argues.
The NSDC secretary warned Ukrainian partner nations against pressuring Ukraine into fulfilling the deal, saying it would provoke dangerous instability.
“If the (Ukrainian public) doesn’t accept those agreements, it could lead to a very difficult internal situation – and Russia is counting on that,” he added. Ukrainian public opinion has consistently been against direct negotiations with the puppet states the Kremlin created in the Donbas.
Danilov’s statements starkly contrast to the usual line of both the Poroshenko and Zelensky administrations, which have both insisted that the Minsk Agreements will be upheld. In mid-December, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Ukraine has not renounced the peace deal, and is ready to fulfill it to end the conflict in the Donbas.
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko has stated that, unlike Russia, Ukraine is working on the implementing Minsk’s provisions, and is making all efforts to peacefully resolve the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
Danilov is not the only member of the Zelensky government to disagree with the official line, however. Earlier, Presidential Chief-of-Staff Andriy Yermak claimed that it would be almost impossible to implement the Minsk agreements in the wording in which they had been signed. However, the Ukrainian side will do its best to fulfill the principles laid down in them, he said.
Speaking at the Normandy Four Summit in Paris on Dec. 9, 2019, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized that the Minsk agreements should be revised in terms of border control. One sticking point of Minsk for the Ukrainian side has been the necessity to hold local elections in the occupied territories, which Ukraine has said to be “impossible,” citing that without control of the currently occupied Russian-Ukrainian border, a fair election could not possibly be held.
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