Tired of waiting: EU could impose sanctions on Ukraine over Minsk


September 16, 2016 – Fort Russ News – 

Vesti – translated by J. Arnoldski

A new plan for implementing the Minsk Agreements was brought by the foreign ministers of Germany and France to Kiev. Its essence is that, although the general outline of the agreements does not change, a ceasefire must be guaranteed. Thus, guaranteeing security and the political aspect of Minsk-2 are to go hand in hand.

During a meeting with President Poroshenko, the diplomats went on the offensive. Frank-Walter Steinmeier compared the Minsk process to a snail and Jean-Marc Ayrault outlined the West’s vision. 

The first point is a ceasefire and withdrawing troops in three zones, the second is the Rada’s adopting of a law on elections and Donbass’ special status (parallel to the expansion of demilitarized zones), while the third point is the Rada’s approval of a date for elections, amending the constitution, passing laws on amnesty, withdrawing troops, freeing hostages, and full access to the border. 

“Security is impossible without strengthening the political process – they should be implemented parallel to each other,” the French foreign minister added.

Afterwards, during a meeting with deputies, two fundamentally different approaches were revealed. “They propose that we act thus: a stable ceasefire, then a special status and elections, and then they’ll transfer control over the border to us. But this is impossible, because we need to control the border before elections,” Vesti was told by a deputy “frontline-veteran.”

The alternative would supposedly be abandoning Minsk and applying the Budapest Memorandum. This possibility appeared at the end of summer and actively made its rounds in social networks. “Those who speak about Budapest are either stupid or haven’t read the document: it does not guarantee Ukraine’s security,” deputy Oleg Barna said. He continued: “There is no alternative to Minsk.”

Obviously, pressure on Kiev has been increased. “The West needs to show that there is progress so as to put forward the question of lifting sanctions against Russia by winter. And they are annoyed by the Ukrainian government so much that they are ready to impose personal sanctions against our politicians who have called to boycott Minsk,” political analyst Kost Bondarenko believes.

In Bondarenko’s opinion, this could mean blocking Ukrainian politicians’ accounts, property, and banning them from entering EU countries. 

“But the president has little choice: he is split between radicals who can repeat terrorist attacks if Donbass’ status is reconsidered, and the EU. This twine can be torn in to pieces,” Ukrainian political expert Nikolay Spiridinov is convinced. “On the other hand, Petro Poroshenko has mechanisms for collecting votes – he was able to collect them for appointing Groysman and the law for appointing Lutsenko.”….

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