the Minsk Memorandum is back: it corrects the Minsk Protocol, by Stratediplo

Written end of September, this note was not intended for publication but for internal OSCE use. The renewed interest for the Minsk process, and the possible beginning of implementation after this announced “day of silence”, brings the opportunity to clearly expose the reason why Kiev didn’t respect the Memorandum: it was totally reversing the Protocol. This note sticks to the texts as they were published (only in Russian) since the author didn’t have access to the meetings and discussions, and his opinion (“prospects”) is clearly separated from the analysis.

On September 5, 2014, the trilateral contact group on Ukraine (OSCE, Russia and Ukraine) signed a Protocol to “implement president Poroshenko’s peace plan and president Putin’s initiative”; then on September 19 the same contact group signed a memorandum to precise its practical application. Both documents were also presented for signature to two top leaders of Donetsk and Lugansk de facto republics, who signed it in no official capacity. This note intends to clarify the origin and content of the Protocol, to present how the Memorandum completes and corrects it, and to draw some practical conclusions.

A- The Minsk Protocol was essentially Poroshenko’s peace plan

On June 20 Ukrainian president Poroshenko had published a 15-points “peace plan”, assorted with a one-week ceasefire for the insurgents to leave the country (Lavrov read it as an ultimatum), which he announced again end of August. On September 3 Russian president Putin drafted a 7-points proposal for a cease-fire. Ukrainian regular and paramilitary forces having recently been defeated, their rulers agreed to submit Putin’s proposal to the contact group, but the Protocol signed two days later appeared to be rather inspired by Poroshenko’s plan (that the contact group had discussed for two months) than by Putin’s proposal. The 12 points of the Protocol are commented hereafter.

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