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Foreign Policy Research Institute

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The update of the Minsk process is subject to manipulation

On May 31, Deputy Head of the Administration of the President of Ukraine, Vadym Prystaiko noted the presence of certain "creative" ideas to revive the Minsk process, on which experts still have to work and make concrete decisions. "We agreed that "Minsk will be used, that its activities, which have been stopped, should now begin in a new way. There are already some creative ideas that we have discussed. We will be able to share them when our experts finish and make concrete decisions" he told reporters on Thursday after Zelensky met with the heads of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France and Germany. Prystaiko noted that for the meeting of the leaders of the "Normandy format" it is necessary for them to "have something specific on the table", about what they will agree on."This is preceded by a lot of work at all levels. We are going to resume the work of the Trilateral contact group in the near future, and these decisions will be in a day or two" he said.[1]

Later, however, the Administration of President Volodymyr Zelensky said that until June 19, they will not publish the "road map" on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements until Ukraine agrees with its European partners. This was reported by the speaker of the President, Yulia Mendel in Facebook. "We do not make the President's road map public yet. Firstly, Ukraine has already had precedents when our initiatives were blocked, knowing them in advance," Mendel said. According to her, now it is too early to publish the map, because it is a security issue. Secondly, "Ukraine should coordinate the road map with our European partners within the Normandy format," she added. The card won't be published till June 19, according to a speaker of Zelensky. "Now Ukraine faces two important tasks: a ceasefire and the return home of Ukrainian prisoners," she added.[2]

In addition, according to "UKRINFORM", on June 5, the head of the Ukrainian delegation at the negotiations on the settlement of the situation in the Donbass in the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk Leonid Kuchma stated the need to register norm in the new agreements on the regime of silence in the zone of armed conflict "not to shoot back". Subsequently, Kuchma specified that the question of a ban to fight back in response to attacks in Donbass is his opinion, not the decision of the current Presiden.

However, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ruslan Khomchak assured that nobody gave command not to shoot back to the Ukrainian military in the Donbass. He said this in an interview with BBC-Ukraine. "There is a war going on, and all the commanders there in their places. The squad leader commands the squad, platoon commander commands the platoon, company commander commands the company. They have no commands not to answer no" Khomchak said. According to him "anybody who understands anything in the war, will not give such a team. And there were no such commands, I did not receive such commands from our military and political leadership, and I did not give such commands. And I know for sure that the commanders in the Joint Forces Operation did not give such commands and will not give", the Chief of the General Staff assured. According to him, the dissemination of such information is one of the elements of information and psychological warfare.[3]

At the same time, on June 5 during the meeting of the Trilateral Сontact Group in Minsk, a proposal was made to lift the economic blockade from Donbass regions not controlled by Kyiv, announced the Special Representative of the OSCE in the Trilateral Сontact Group, Martin Sajdik. "Such a proposal was made by Leonid Kuchma. It was really so, and this was supported by the representatives of the certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (ORDLO). And this issue will be considered by the economic subgroup next time." Lifting the blockade from regions not controlled by Kyiv, which has been in effect since March 2017, would also be "great progress," Sajdik said.

At the same time, Russia's representative at the negotiations in Minsk, Boris Gryzlov in an interview with the Russian media said that the economic subgroup has already been instructed to discuss the restoration of economic ties in the event of a corresponding decision by Kyiv. "In this regard, Donetsk and Lugansk proposed specific initiatives. I hope that direct dialogue between Donetsk, Lugansk and Kyiv will allow to find a mutually acceptable solution within the framework of work of the economic subgroup", the Agency "Interfax", quotes the representative of Russia. On the resources of the "DPR" and "LPR" groups, it is reported that it is their representatives at the negotiations in Minsk offered the Ukrainian side to begin a "direct dialogue" by lifting of the economic blockade from the Donbass.[4]

This statement has caused a significant resonance in society. Some Ukrainians consider the lifting of the blockade condoning the enemy and capitulation, while the other consider it to be an opportunity to go to the end of the war in the Donbass. Marina Bagrova, member of the board of the International Union "National Policy Institute": "Leonid Kuchma's proposal to lift the economic blockade from the ORDLO is just his personal opinion. It should be noted that ORDLO economically and politically integrated into Russia. Therefore, in economic terms, Ukraine leaves trade and other economic relations in its temporarily occupied territories to Russia. It turns out that in case of lifting the economic blockade, Ukraine will feed the budget of the aggressor country, which is unacceptable due to the norms of international law and morality. The lifting of the economic blockade from the temporarily occupied territories is a step in the interests of the aggressor country, aimed at strengthening the Russian economy. The reasons for such anomalous behavior on the part of the former political leadership of Ukraine, as well as in the statements of individuals, can be found in Ukraine's non-compliance with international law. Simply put, deviation from the use of the so-called "protocol of war".

Dmytro Sinchenko from public organization "Political Science Association" is also a supporter of this opinion: "I am сonvinced that in the current situation it is impossible to reduce the economic pressure on the occupiers, because a favorable situation for their economy will only increase their ability to fight with us, and therefore, we suffer great losses – more dead, more wounded, more destructions... Do we want this? Of course, no. There is a significant demand in the society for the end of the war, but it is necessary to understand that there are only two ways: victory or defeat. The victory not over the terrorists of the DPR and LPR, but the victory over our enemy – Russia».

However, there is an opposite opinion. Andriy Martynov, leading researcher at the Institute of History of Ukraine of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine: "If the team of President Volodymyr Zelensky wants to go to the parliamentary elections with "concrete actions", the first step to do this is fulfilled promises regarding the establishment of peace in the Donbass, the lifting of the economic blockade from the ORDLO. Another thing is that this issue again radically polarizes the Ukrainian society and actualizes the talks about "victory or betrayal". "Business secrets" leave open the question, whether Ukraine really refused to "trade on blood" or this trade in another form (Rotterdam+, Dusseldorf+, etc.) has become a monopoly privilege of interested parties. It is always easier to start a trade war than to finish it. If the Constitutional Court won’t cancel special elections on July 21, then the issue of lifting the blockade will become "pre-election" and long-term. Theoretically, the Cabinet of Ministers should take a decision on the lifting of the economic blockade from the ORDLO. But in the context of the election campaign, it is difficult to make such a decision when there is a focus on certain segments of the electorate that are against such a decision. Therefore, the blockade is unlikely to be actually lifted until the end of the parliamentary election campaign."[5]

Given the above, the stories about the renewal of the Minsk process are just a manipulation. After all, the lifting of the economic blockade strengthens the independence of the "republics" and legitimizes the ORDLO. In this way, materially and economically, we undermine the independence of our own country, just as Moldova did with Transnistria. In fact, this question leads to discrediting Zelensky's policy on this issue.






[5] Ibid.