December 3, 2020

The implementation of the Minsk agreements has encountered new obstacles though efforts of the Trilateral contact group on Ukraine to reach mutually acceptable terms of the cease-fire in the South-East of Ukraine. Such a new obstacle is ultimatum set up by so-called separatists “republics” addressed to Kyiv – to start direct negotiations with so-called “DPR” and “LPR” or to quit the Minsk process.

It worth mentioning that “DPR” and “LPR” have no state sovereignty and are not the official parties to the negotiations. None of the civilized countries has recognized these quazi-republics as credible countries. In the point of view of the UN, OSCE and Normandy Four countries (Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France) there are no such countries as “DPR” and “LPR”. De jure, there are certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine (ORDLO), but de facto there are separatist formations, which have been established and existed solely due to of Russian support.

The long-year destructive policy of the Russian Federation – the direct presence of Russian career officers in Donbas, provision of financial aid and military equipment, the issuance of Russian passports to the local residents made impossible implementation of the Minsk agreements. Besides, none of the documents of the Minsk agreements has any article, which obliges official Kyiv to hold direct negotiations with the “representatives” of ORDLO.

In fact, the documents of the Minsk process have no direct term – who are the “representatives of ORDLO” and what is their origin? For the last six years all the parties to the negotiations mutely accepted the position that persons promoted and thrusted on by Russia to the Trilateral contact group are the representatives of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions enjoying the monopoly right to represent a part of Donbas.

Now it is Ukrainian demand that the Trilateral contact group must be enlarged with those residents of Donbas who were forced to flee their homes and move to the territories under control of official Kyiv – internally displaced persons. It is quite logical – if there is a need to hear the point of view of residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, it is appropriate and fair to hear those internally displaced persons who were forced to leave their homes because of the violence, threat to their lives and health, violent actions committed by militants. As a result, the international mediators – OSCE and countries represented in “Normandy four” will realize that ordinary residents of Donbas have different views on what happened in 2014, and on the possible ways of cessation of the armed conflict.

Likewise, on May 14, 2020 the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral contact group puzzled Russian representatives, because there were presented the evidences that a person invited by Russia as the representative of so-called “LPR” to the Trilateral contact group meeting is a Russian citizen. Both Russia and its controlled “republics” recognized the authenticity of the published passport, while the international mediators recorded this fact. It has given a fundamentally new political reality.

Firstly, the Russian citizenship of the person presented by Moscow as the representative of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions is direct and clear evidence that Russia controls these certain areas. According to the international law it is a direct evidence of Russia’s presence in Donbas (though Russia always rejected it) and that Russia is an occupant.

Secondly, this evidence ruins the Russian version of the war in Donbas as “internal conflict” in the South-East of Ukraine. If Donbas is represented by the Russian citizen, it is not an internal conflict. Now any person who is going to be promoted to the Trilateral contact group must be asked about the Russian citizenship. With this background Ukraine’s offer to invite real representatives of Donbas to the Trilateral contact group (internally displaced persons) sounds much more reasonable than ever before.

After the case around Russian citizen V.Deynego (who represented the so-called “LPR” during negotiations in Minsk), the “minister of foreign affairs of DPR” N.Nikonorova who represented “DPR” in Minsk, committed the act of self-exposure. Using the website of the “ministry of foreign affairs of DPR” she confessed that many representatives of “republics” within the Minsk process also have Russian passports. Therefore, it means Russia wants Ukraine to coordinate all the decisions regarding Donbas with Russian citizens.

On the one hand, Moscow insists on the direct negotiations of Kyiv and Russian citizens, but on the other hand, it claims that the military conflict in Donbas is internal one. In fact, only Russia has all the instruments and capacities to stop this military conflict, as it completely controls separatist “republics”.

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