#Official Commentary of Miroslav Rudenko on need of adoption of Special Status for Donbass by Ukraine

Ukraine continues to do its best not to fulfill their obligations under the “Minsk-2” on the issue of granting Special Status to Donbass. Neither in 2015 nor in 2016 the Minsk agreements have not been fulfilled and, most likely, they will be extended for the next year.Question: will the current leadership of Ukraine be able to decide on the constitutional reform on Donbass, as spelled out in Minsk?

All parties of the conflict in Donbass, as well as representatives of the “Normandy Four” recognize that there is no alternative to the Minsk agreements. But everyone puts in “Minsk-2” paragraphs their own vision on solution of the conflict. The first paragraph of agreement – an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in Donbass – is not fulfilled. Every day, from February 15, 2015, the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic is shelled from the Ukrainian side with varying intensity. Failure to comply with the first paragraph entails a failure to fulfill the rest. Ukrainian side uses such an interpretation regularly, as soon as it comes to the discussion of political paragraphs of the Package of measures.

Ukraine argues that the main point for them is the 9th paragraph – the restoration of full control by the government over the state border of Ukraine throughout the conflict zone. The meaning of this approach is explained by Kiev political analyst Taras Berezovets, who promised clearances to slow-witted ones and those who sympathise Donbass and Crimea.

At the same time the Ukrainian side forgets a full text of paragraph 9, namely the restoration of full control over the state border “should begin on the first day after the local elections and be completed after a comprehensive political settlement (local elections in some areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions on the basis of the law of Ukraine and the constitutional reform) by the end of 2015 on condition of implementation of paragraph 11 – in consultation and in agreement with the representatives of separate areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions within the framework of the trilateral contact group”.

Which of these are accomplished? Nothing! The first eight points of the Minsk agreements are not fulfilled either. Withdrawal of heavy artillery, effective monitoring of the OSCE, a dialogue on the modalities of the local elections, the amnesty law, exchange of hostages, delivering humanitarian aid, rehabilitation of social and economic relations are not implemented.

The 11th paragraph “Implementation of constitutional reform in Ukraine with entry into force by late 2015 of a new Constitution, involving decentralization as a key element (taking into account the characteristics of individual areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions agreed with the representatives of these regions), as well as the adoption of the permanent legislation on the Special Status of certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, in accordance with the measures specified in appendix 1 by the end of 2015” also failed to be fulfilled.

I have done such a detailed stop on the Minsk agreements’ text intentionally. The position of the Donetsk People’s Republic, as well as the Russian Federation, is clearly defined: the strict and consistent compliance with all paragraphs of the Minsk agreements, from first to last. Ukraine is not willing to perform them consistently, randomly selecting items for execution.

Thus, to get around the main, for them, stumbling block – the 11th paragraph on constitutional reform – Ukraine clutched stranglehold to the 10th paragraph, which prescribes the withdrawal of all foreign armed forces, military equipment and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under the supervision of the OSCE and the disarmament of all illegal groups.

Under the foreign troops Ukraine understands the regular Russian army. At the same time completely ignores the words of OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, who said that he has no evidence of the presence of Russian troops in Donbass and that the OSCE representatives did not see that the weapons crossed the Russian border.

The meaning of Russia’s accusations of military presence in the DPR is quite obvious. Ukraine is eager not to carry out the constitutional reform that would grant Special Status to Donbass. Ukrainians are motivated by the fact that the Special Status of Donbass will launch the mechanism of the country’s collapse. In my opinion, Ukraine is falling apart exactly because of the lack of the Special Status of Donbass, but the Ukrainian political leadership does not see it at close range. Moreover, it is trying to divide the standards of decentralization and peculiarities of local self-government in certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which are combined into a single amendment to the Constitution of Ukraine. They want to vote for decentralization, but they are not willing to vote for a Special Status in principle, which is clearly contrary to the Minsk agreements.

It causes anxiety among Russia partners in the “Normandy Four”. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier made it clear to Ukraine that they must stick to the Minsk agreements. “As long as all parties to the conflict adhere to, as before, the Minsk agreements, we must use every opportunity to move forward step by step. Even despite the fact that often the motion is done by millimetres,” the German Foreign Minister said.

However, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has officially declared that “the autonomy of Donbass will become a way to the federalization of Ukraine. Russia aims at this. It will be the legitimisation of Russian protectorate in Donbass,” Pavel Klimkin claimed. I want to agree with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in the part of “Russia aims at this”, but remind him that this phrase concerns the Special Status of Donbass, namely the impeccable execution of the Minsk agreements. Perhaps the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry hinted that Kiev is better not to carry out some paragraphs simply because Moscow wants it, especially in such a sequence, about which the representatives of Donbass regularly remind in the trilateral contact group.

Let me remind the official Kiev that both France and Germany want the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Moreover, the Package of measures on implementation of the Minsk agreements was approved by the UN Security Council. And the sequence of execution is also spelled out in this ill-fated document for the Ukrainian governors.

And it is possible that the People’s Republic will have to discuss the matter on the Special Status of Donbass with the new leadership of Ukraine…

Miroslav Rudenko, the DPR People’s Council deputy

Official website of the DPR People’s Council

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