Proposals on identifying several districts in the Donentsk and Lugansk regions to be granted a special self-government status, which President of Ukraine Petr Poroshenko has submitted to the Verkhovna Rada, arouse serious questions and concerns.
At all stages in the negotiations within the Contact Group and the Normandy Four, the parties referred solely to Kiev identifying the concrete territories where the Law on the Temporary Procedure for Local Self-Government in Certain Districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, which has already been approved by the Verkhovna Rada, will be applied. This approach has been fixed in the documents coordinated in Minsk on February 12, 2015, and endorsed by the representatives of Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as by Russia, Germany, France and the OSCE.
In violation of this commitment, the proposals that President Poroshenko has submitted to the Verkhovna Rada are changing the very essence of the Package of Measures adopted in Minsk, making the enactment of the said law conditional on a number of additional requirements that have never been discussed before. In particular, it has been attempted to make the introduction into force of this law conditional on recognising the results of elections to local governments in certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the organisation of which is stipulated by an ultimatum and beset with numerous demands that were not envisaged by the Minsk Agreements. The proposals totally disregard the provisions of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which state that the modalities of local elections, like the future status of certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, should be subject to dialogue with the representatives of Donbass.
These actions by the Kiev authorities are yet another evidence of its policy of undermining the Minsk process, which is already manifested in its appeals to the West to step up weapon deliveries to the Ukrainian military, its constant threats to solve the Donbass problem by force of arms, and its stubborn unwillingness to create within the Contact Group the working mechanisms for the implementation of all aspects of the Minsk Agreements, including a constitutional reform and full restoration of socio-economic ties. Instead, Kiev continues to intensify the blockade of Donbass, ruthlessly restricting the contacts between residents of areas controlled by the self-defence forces and the rest of Ukraine as well as their trans-border ties with regions of the Russian Federation in direct violation of provisions fixed in the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements.
The developments confirm that the Ukrainian leadership has set the course for renouncing the key principle of the Minsk process, which consists in addressing all issues of settlement in consultations and by coordination with the representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk. Against this background, it is hard to call President Poroshenko’s March 16 statement in Berlin to the effect that “there is no alternative to the Minsk Agreements” other than hypocritical.
We are calling on the guarantors of these Agreements – the leaders of Germany and France – to urge their strict implementation, including honest compliance with the content and sequence of actions coordinated in the February 12 documents.
The Kiev authorities should meticulously abide by their commitments and start a real political dialogue with the representatives of Donbass on all aspects of Ukrainian crisis settlement.
16 March 2015