US accuses Russia of distorting Minsk Agreements, aiming to retain influence over Ukraine

9 February 2022, 06:29 PM

Russia is promoting a distorted interpretation of the Minsk Agreements, a peace plan for resolving the conflict over Ukraine’s eastern Donbas territory, according to a tweet by the United States embassy in Kyiv posted on Feb. 8.

Russia pushes a distorted interpretation of the Minsk agreements, including insisting on ‘autonomy’ for Russia-controlled Donbas. Nowhere in the Minsk Agreements is the word ‘autonomy’ mentioned,” said the message.

Ukrainian critics of the Minsk agreements have stated that if the non-government-controlled territories are given autonomy, they will act to inhibit Ukraine’s political movement towards Europe and instead pull the country back under Russian influence.

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“Ukraine has repeatedly tried to implement Minsk in good faith, including passing a law on a special status (for the non-government-controlled territories) every year.  Meanwhile, Russia violates the ceasefire, refuses to engage constructively on this issue and others, and pretends it is not a party to the conflict it instigated,” the embassy wrote.

Russia continues to delay Normandy Four meetings, summits consisting of Ukraine, France, Germany, and Russia, citing Ukraine’s violations of the Minsk agreements.

The Normandy Format talks between those four countries started in 2014 after Russia invaded and occupied the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and fomented an armed conflict in Ukraine’s Donbas region that has already killed some 15,000 Ukrainians.

According to Russia’s representative at the talks, Dmitriy Kozak, the sides have “irreconcilable differences when it comes to interpreting the Minsk Agreements.”

Kozak said that a Normandy summit meeting would be possible only after “legal aspects of Donbas’ special status” are agreed on.

Minsk provides for Ukraine restoring full control over its border with Russia in Donbas, but Russia and Ukraine argue over the timing. The Russians believe Ukrainian control of the Ukrainian border should be restored after local elections in the region, while the Ukrainian side has commented on the impossibility of certifying free and fair elections in a territory that contains foreign armed groups.

During the last Normandy summit meeting in December, 2019, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for those provisions of Minsk Agreements to be revisited.

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