The Minsk Complex dismantles the Minsk Memorandum, by Stratediplo

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, supposedly to precise its practical application, but actually to correct it and make it both viable and useful. After the failure of the general military offensive launched by the Ukranian government in January, president Hollandd, president Putin and chancellor Merkel called the contact group to prepare a new document, the Complex “of measures about the implementation of the Minsk agreements”, issued on February 12, 2015. As the two previous ones, this document was then presented to two top leaders of Donetsk and Lugansk de facto republics (in the meanwhile elected chiefs of government), who acknowledged having read it by signing after the trilateral contact group, in their sole personal names since they were not asked to state any public mandate or commit any community.

The 13 clauses of the Complex are commented hereafter.

1. Immediate and comprehensive ceasefire.

This clause just repeats the first clause of the Protocol and the first clause of the Memorandum, and ignores the third clause of the Memorandum, burrying the distinction between offensive fire, especially against civilian population, and defensive counter-battery fire, aimed at putting an end to any shelling of the civilian population. For months the OSCE has been able to identify and report which side was firing at the population (even after the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum) and which side was restraining to defensive counter-battery, but the trilateral contact group doesn’t want any more to single out offensive operations and to put a specific blame on the offender, should the same anti-cities pattern occur again.

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