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MAJOR: Ukraine declares Minsk Agreement Non-Binding, Effectively Ceding Donbass

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MINSK – At the last meeting of the Tripartite Contact Group in Minsk (TKG) on June 15th, (the body which led to creation of the Normandy Four and the Minsk Agreement), Kiev arrived at a surprising position which effectively eliminates a path to regain control over the Donbass. Kiev’s change of position leaves only a military option open.

The Minsk Agreement contained a number of requirements from both sides; from Kiev it required a change in the constitution in the direction of a federal state. Such changes would trigger on the Donbass side the eventual hand-over of rule back to Kiev. But Kiev to date has failed to make constitutional changes, contrary to the terms of the Minsk Agreement.

On The Ukrainian delegation at the talks of the Tripartite Contact Group in Minsk (TKG) predictably stated the need for the full resumption of Ukrainian rule over the territory of the DPR and LPR. With this, Kiev insisted on the resumption of work of Ukrainian state institutions in these territories, as well as tax and settlement systems “within the framework of the Ukrainian legal field”.

According to the office of the President of Ukraine, such demands were put forward during the next meeting of the group, held on June 15.

Obviously, these requirements are clearly contrary to the package of measures to implement the Minsk agreements, approved by the UN Security Council. Aware of this fact, the Ukrainian side stated the optionality of its implementation.

This information was confirmed in Donetsk. The corresponding statement was made at the briefing on the evening of the same day by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPR Natalia Nikonorova .

“The Ukrainian representatives expressed the view that the package of measures approved by the UN Security Council resolution is supposedly not a binding document – an extremely strange statement against the backdrop of five years, during which the entire world community confirmed the non-alternativeness of the Minsk agreements. At the meeting of the Contact Group, we heard such statements from the Kiev delegates for the first time, ” DAN agency quoted her as saying.

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She also added that Kiev at today’s meeting proposed its Rules of work for Contact and specialized groups. And in it, the representatives of the LPR are not indicated at all as a party to the conflict and participants in the negotiations.

“This approach is fundamentally contrary to the Minsk process, which is designed to establish a dialogue between Kiev and the Donbass as two parties to the conflict. Representatives of Ukraine over and over again voiced contradicting both the documents of the Minsk package and common sense theses, ”the minister emphasized.

Having embarked on a frank torpedoing of the Minsk negotiation process, the Ukrainian side declares full support from the OSCE, and complains that Russia opposes this.

According to Ukrainian media, the representative of Russia Boris Gryzlov drew attention only to the words of one of the members of the Ukrainian delegation, MP Aleksandr Merezhko , who stated that “the Minsk agreement is not obligatory for Ukraine.” And the Russian side refused to discuss other “much more important issues”.

Previously the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmitry Kuleba said that in the negotiations on the Donbas,s Ukraine focuses on “offensive diplomacy” and will seek to impose “its agenda” on Russia.

Kiev’s surprising declaration situates it not only in opposition to the UN Security Council resolution which it signed on to, but also eliminates a mechanism by which it can regain control over the breakaway republics of Lugansk and Donetsk.

While monumental, it appears that Kiev is using the language of “offensive diplomacy”, a ‘make no compromise’ approach to the question of the Donbass, while in reality recognizing that it lacks either the internal political coherence, the geopolitical alliances, or the military fortitude to regain the lost regions.

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