In September it will be two years since signing of the first decision of the Contact group – the Minsk protocol. Two years of struggle at the negotiating table, the signing of the Package of measures and various security documents – all of this was made for the sake of peace in Donbass. But, alas, despite all compromises from the DPR and LPR, despite sometimes unilateral implementation of the Minsk agreements’ paragraphs by the People’s Republics, the peace has not come to Donbass.
The only thing that was made by Ukraine in two years is that they proved that they don’t need peace at all. Out of 13 paragraphs of the Package of measures there was only one that was completely executed, namely, the one that envisaged creation of the working groups for coordination and implementation of all document. And as for the rest:
– Persistent shoot-outs and provocations on the contact line and shelling of civilian towns bear evidence of the fact that Ukrainian weapons were not fully withdrawn as required by the Package of measures and a number of security agreements.
– Due to the lack of the Amnesty Law, we are not even close to the exchange by the formula “all for all”, while thousands of prisoners, political prisoners and ordinary Ukrainian citizens whose only fault was ideological dissention are suffering in the dungeons of the SSU and the Ukrainian prison.
– There are various humanitarian missions and organizations that carry out their activities on the territory of the Republic, while Ukraine has not allowed the activity of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of torture in prisons and detention of captured.
– Restoration of the banking system for the resumption of pension payments never happened. The technical part which was undertaken by guarantor states is not implemented. Moreover, the situation with payments pensions and attitude to pensioners residing in the territory of the DPR and the LPR is deteriorating every day. Today the pensioner in order to receive pension, earned by own work and health, has to wait for hours on check points and in queues, bear humiliation of the Ukrainian security officers and officials, to undergo testing for reliability. All of this is for the sake of those remains which Ukraine will deign to pay.
– Political paragraphs of the Package of measures became mission impossible for Ukraine. None of the laws (The Law on local elections, the Law on the Special Status, the Law on Amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine, the Amnesty Law) was not coordinated by negotiators. Failure to cancel the so-called “anti-terrorist operation” indicates at the absence of peaceful aspirations in the Ukrainian government. The international standards of the right do not assume elections in the anti-terrorist operation mode. And only Ukraine considers normal carrying out of elections at gunpoint. In addition to the apparent lack of progress in the work of the subgroups, there is a regression in some positions of the negotiating process.
So, during the work of the political subgroup, negotiators succeeded in agreement on the possibility of voting for the IDPs at the polling stations at the place of registration. Nonparticipation of political parties as subjects of electoral process was coordinated (only majority system and independent candidates). An agreement on holding of elections on the first Sunday after 90 days from entry-into-force of the Law on elections is achieved. But because of the frequent changes of the Ukrainian side in the working group, they have no proper authority and fixation all the agreements reached today we have returned to the position achieved in May 2015.
We are well aware that Ukraine is deliberately delaying the negotiation process – without fulfilling paragraphs of the agreements reached, tightening economic, food and transport blockade, exacerbating the situation on the contact line. But today, after nearly two years of difficult political confrontation, the rest of the world is starting to see and understand this. Minsk negotiations and full implementation of measures is the only possibility of a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbas.
Denis Pushilin, permanent plenipotentiary representative of the Donetsk People’s Republic in tripartite Contact group at negotiations in Minsk