Utter failure of Minsk 2: Russian military observers to withdraw from Donbass


December 18, 2017 – FRN – 

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RIA News – translated by Inessa Sinchougova 

Russia has decided to withdraw its military observers from Donbass, after the work of Russian representatives in the joint Center for Control and Coordination in the Donbass (SCCC) became impossible. In Kiev, in connection with this, they suggest that the SCCC be eliminated altogether. 

According to experts, after the disbanding of Russian officers from the SCCC, the likelihood of an aggravation of the conflict in the region is increasing, since the representatives of Kiev do not make direct contact with representatives of Donetsk nor Lugansk. 

The SCCC was established in 2014, made up from the officers of the General Staff of the Russian Federation and Ukraine, on behalf of the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, after the Minsk agreements were signed.

Back in early December this year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking at a meeting of the OSCE Council of Foreign Ministers in Vienna, said that the Ukrainian side is doing everything to place Russian officers in the SCCC in unbearable conditions, in fact, asking that the center cease to exist.

The OSCE Mission to Ukraine on December 14 reported on Russia’s intention to withdraw its officers from the SCCC. On Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the further work of the Russian Federation in the framework of the SCCC in the east of Ukraine became impossible.

In this regard, the Russian side terminates its activities within the SCCC on December 19. The Russian ministry was reminded that SCCC faced serious difficulties due to the position of the Ukrainian authorities. Kiev, for example, categorically objected to any documentary regulation of the functioning of the center. Attempts to resolve this issue at the bilateral level, on the Minsk contact group platform or in the “Normandy format” were not successful.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation reported that they had already informed foreign partners about this forced step, stressing that all responsibility for possible consequences lies entirely with the Ukrainian side.

In Kiev, it is proposed to liquidate the SPCC.

The leader of the faction, the largest in the Verkhovna Rada, the “Piotr Poroshenko Bloc”  Artur Gerasimov, does not exclude the worsening of the situation in the Donbass after the disbanding of Russian officers from the SSCC.

“Of course, this can affect the aggravation of the situation,” Gerasimov told journalists at a briefing.

According to him, the presence of the Russian Federation in the SCCC helped to coordinate the ceasefire on the ground to solve local problems.

In turn, the deputy from the faction “People’s Front”, member of the committee on national security and defense Dmitry Tymchuk believes that the SCCC should be eliminated after the decision of the Russian Federation to withdraw its officers from the agency.

At the same time, he believes that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission could assume the functions of coordinating the issues of de-mining or coordinating a ceasefires.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, on the other hand, stated that the Ukrainian side will continue to work in the SCCC in the normal regime and will make every effort to ensure the security of the OSCE CMM.

At the same time, Deputy Head of the Public Relations Department of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Jozef Venskovich, said that in the event of the withdrawal of Russian officers, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will also be forced to withdraw their observers to SCCC from the territory of Donbass that is beyond Kiev’s control.

In the Donetsk People’s Republic, there are fears of an increase in the number of provocations by Ukrainian security forces in the event of a change in the composition of the SCCC.

“We do not exclude that the number of provocations will significantly increase due to the unwillingness of the OSCE international observers to restrain the Ukrainian side.” These facts will confirm that the presence of Russian observers provided maintenance of a more stable situation.” said Basurin.

According to the deputy director of the Center of Ukrainian Studies and Belarusian Studies of Moscow State University. M.V. Lomonosov, Bogdan Bezpalko, the termination of the SCCC in the east of Ukraine will negatively affect the settlement in the Donbass.

“The grounds for the withdrawal of Russian officers are, obviously, they considered it inexpedient and, accordingly, it reflects Ukraine’s reluctance to start peace talks and a peaceful settlement in the Donbass, ” he said.

“So in this situation there is no movement towards a settlement, there are no compromises on the part of Ukraine, and if we take into account that the Ukrainian side is constantly bombarding the Donbass, then it is clear that it is not going to comply with the Minsk agreements either. The withdrawal of Russian officers from the SSCC is in itself a worthwhile investigation of the wrongdoing in the structure, ” he added.

Inessa Sinchougova is an Editor and Journalist at Fort Russ News, as well as a research fellow and translator of the Belgrade based think-tank, the Center for Syncretic Studies. She was educated at Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand), in the field of Political Science and was previously employed in Marketing and Communications Strategy for a Multi-National Corporation. She runs a popular YouTube channel for translations of key Russian Foreign Policy figures and appears regularly on other alternative media channels. If you like her work, you can support her Patreon here.

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