Minsk agreements

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Agreements made in 2014/15 to end the civil war in Ukraine.

The Minsk agreements were a series of international agreements which sought to end the war in the Donbas region of Ukraine.

Angela Merkel said in 2022 how these agreements gave Ukraine "a lot of time [...] to develop into what it is today".
(see section: "Buying time for rearmament" further below)

Minsk I

The Minsk Protocol was drawn-up by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine, which consisted of representatives from Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE.[1] The group was established in June 2014 as a way to facilitate dialogue and resolution of the strife across eastern and southern Ukraine. Meetings of the group, along with informal representatives of the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, took place on 31 July, 26 August, 1 September, and 5 September 2014. The details of the agreement, signed on 5 September 2014, largely resembled Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko's 20 June "fifteen-point peace plan".

Text of the protocol

The text of the protocol consists of twelve points:[2]

  1. To ensure an immediate bilateral ceasefire.
  2. To ensure the monitoring and verification of the ceasefire by the OSCE .
  3. Decentralisation of power, including through the adoption of the Ukrainian law "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts".
  4. To ensure the permanent monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian border and verification by the OSCE with the creation of security zones in the border regions of Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
  5. Immediate release of all hostages and illegally detained persons.
  6. A law preventing the prosecution and punishment of people in connection with the events that have taken place in some areas of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
  7. To continue the inclusive national dialogue.
  8. To take measures to improve the humanitarian situation in Donbas.
  9. To ensure early local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian law "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts".
  10. To withdraw illegal armed groups and military equipment as well as fighters and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine.
  11. To adopt a programme of economic recovery and reconstruction for the Donbas region.
  12. To provide personal security for participants in the consultations.


George Eliason noted in his article: Ukraine: The Unspeakable Horror of Poroshenko's Peace, in October 2014:

Poroshenko's armies were supposed to honor a ceasefire and haven't. They are still attacking cities, towns and villages. They were supposed to pull back and instead are repositioning. Kiev is bringing in more equipment, tanks, and artillery. [...]
Towns are still being shelled and people continue to go missing. The break in hard fighting has produced extreme sorrow as mass graves are being found. No one knows for sure yet how many people are missing. The bodies of people that were kidnapped, tortured, raped, and dismembered by Kiev's forces and the punisher battalions Donbas, Aydar, Azov, and Schaktar are being dug from the shallow graves they were buried in. One of the victims was pregnant. All of the victims were bound before being killed. One of the victims was decapitated.

Minsk II

Successive attempts to resolve the ongoing war in the Donbas region of Ukraine had seen no result by the start of February 2015.[3] While the Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014 did significantly reduce fighting in the conflict zone for many months, minor skirmishes continued. At the start of January 2015, the separatist forces of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) began a new offensive on Ukrainian-controlled areas, resulting in the complete collapse of the Minsk Protocol ceasefire.[4] After heavy fighting, DPR forces captured the symbolically important Donetsk International Airport on 21 January, the last part of the city of Donetsk that had been under Ukrainian control. Following this victory, separatist forces pressed their offensive on the important railway and road junction of Debaltseve in late January. This renewed heavy fighting caused significant concern in the international community. French president François Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel put forth a new peace plan on 7 February. The Franco-German plan, drawn up after talks with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and Russian president Vladimir Putin, was seen as a revival of the Minsk Protocol. President Hollande said that the plan was the "last chance" for resolution of the conflict.[5][6] The plan was put forth in response to American proposals to send armaments to the Ukrainian government, something that Chancellor Merkel said would only result in a worsening of the crisis.[5][7]

A summit to discuss the implementation of the Franco-German diplomatic plan was scheduled for 11 February at Independence Palace in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. It was attended by Russian president Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president François Hollande, DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko, and LPR leader Igor Plotnitsky. Negotiations went on overnight for sixteen hours, and were said to have been "very difficult" by the German foreign minister.[8][9] Following the talks, it was announced on 12 February that the parties to the conflict had agreed to a new package of peacemaking measures, the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which is commonly called Minsk II.[10][11][12][13] Some of the measures agreed to were an OSCE-observed unconditional ceasefire from 15 February, withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line, release of prisoners of war, and constitutional reform in Ukraine.[14]

Minsk II was adopted as UN Resolution 2202.[15]

Text of the agreement

The full text of the agreement is as follows:[16][17]

  1. Immediate and full ceasefire in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine and its strict fulfilment as of 00:00 midnight EET on 15 February 2015.
  2. Pull-out of all heavy weapons by both sides to equal distance with the aim of creation of a security zone on minimum 50 kilometres (31 mi) apart for artillery of 100mm calibre or more, and a security zone of 70 kilometres (43 mi) for multiple rocket launchers (MRLS) and 140 kilometres (87 mi) for MLRS Tornado-S, Uragan, Smerch, and Tochka U tactical missile systems:
    • for Ukrainian troops, from actual line of contact;
    • for armed formations of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, from the contact line in accordance with the Minsk Memorandum as of 19 September 2014

The pullout of the above-mentioned heavy weapons must start no later than the second day after the start of the ceasefire and finish within 14 days. This process will be assisted by OSCE with the support of the Trilateral Contact Group.

  1. Effective monitoring and verification of ceasefire regime and pullout of heavy weapons by OSCE will be provided from the first day of pullout, using all necessary technical means such as satellites, drones, radio-location systems etc.
  2. On the first day after the pullout a dialogue is to start on modalities of conducting local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian legislation and the Law of Ukraine "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts," and also about the future of these districts based on the above-mentioned law.Template:Paragraph breakWithout delays, but no later than 30 days from the date of signing of this document, a resolution has to be approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, indicating the territory which falls under the special regime in accordance with the law "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts," based in the line set up by the Minsk Memorandum as of 19 September 2014.
  3. Provide pardon and amnesty by way of enacting a law that forbids persecution and punishment of persons in relation to events that took place in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine.
  4. Provide release and exchange of all hostages and illegally held persons, based on the principle of "all for all". This process has to end – at the latest – on the fifth day after the pullout (of weapons).
  5. Provide safe access, delivery, storage and distribution of humanitarian aid to the needy, based on an international mechanism.
  6. Define the modalities of a full restoration of social and economic connections, including social transfers, such as payments of pensions and other payments (income and revenue, timely payment of communal bills, restoration of tax payments within the framework of Ukrainian legal field). With this aim, Ukraine will restore management over the segment of its banking system in the districts affected by the conflict, and possibly, an international mechanism will be established to ease such transactions.
  7. Restore control of the state border to the Ukrainian government in the whole conflict zone, which has to start on the first day after the local election and end after the full political regulation (local elections in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts based on the law of Ukraine and Constitutional reform) by the end of 2015, on the condition of fulfillment of Point 11 – in consultations and in agreement with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group.
  8. Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.
  9. Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with a new constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralisation (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts), and also approval of permanent legislation on the special status of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in accordance with the measures spelt out in the attached footnote. The following measures are to be included in the Ukrainian law "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts":
  • Freedom from punishment, harassment, and discrimination of persons connected with the events that took place in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
  • Right of language self-determination
  • Participation of local self-government in the appointment of the heads of prosecutors' offices and courts in the particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
  • The possibility for central executive bodies to conclude agreements with relevant local authorities on economic, social, and cultural development of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
  • The state will provide support for the socio-economic development of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
  • Assistance from central executive bodies for cross-border cooperation by particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts with regions of the Russian Federation
  • The freedom to create people's militia units by decision of local councils to maintain public order in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
  • The powers of local council deputies and officials, elected in early elections, appointed by the Verkhovna Rada according to this law, cannot be prematurely terminated by the end of 2015.
  1. Based on the Law of Ukraine "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts", questions related to local elections will be discussed and agreed upon with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group. Elections will be held in accordance with relevant OSCE standards and monitored by OSCE/ODIHR.
  2. Intensify the work of the Trilateral Contact Group including through the establishment of working groups on the implementation of relevant aspects of the Minsk agreements. They will reflect the composition of the Trilateral Contact Group.

Buying time for rearmament

In 2022, Angela Merkel said Minsk was a stratagem to buy time when the Ukrainian army was losing,[18] stating in a Spiegel interview that she thinks it bought the time that Ukraine could use to better resist a Russian attack.[19] The Spiegel article notes further on her remarks: "It is a stronger, more resilient country now. Back then, she is sure, it would have been overrun by Putin's troops."[20][21]

“This agreement was commended, approved, welcomed by the EU. This agreement has been incorporated into a UN Security Council resolution, so it has the character of international law, [...] At the time, it brought calm and gave Ukraine, for example, a lot of time, seven years, to develop into what it is today.”
Angela Merkel (July 2022)  [22]

A German press outlet, NTV, with a contribution from a Kiev based correspondent, notes at the beginning of 2023, how that view (that it was meant to help build Ukraine up for a war) put's reality on it's head; saying that these agreements were immediately broken by the Russian/separatists side.[23]

The Ukraine, under it's new government, since 2014, however used the time to build significant fortifications (in the Donbas and elsewhere) in preparation for a conflict,[24][25][26][27][28] described by one commentator as: "Ukraine’s extensive, deeply-layered defense in the Donbass",[29] along with a significant strengthening of it's army; while the shelling of civilian areas in the Donbas and Luhansk area was a regular occurrence almost without interruption since 2014 - it may well be termed a terror campaign initiated by the new leadership of the country.

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  1. http://www.osce.org/home/123124
  2. https://www.osce.org/files/f/documents/a/a/123258.pdf
  3. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-12/ukrainian-cease-fire-sealed-after-all-night-minsk-peace-summit
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/21/russia-ukraine-war-fighting-east
  5. a b https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31185027
  6. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-07/putin-rejects-attempts-to-contain-russia-after-peace-talks-fail
  7. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/08/world/europe/divisions-on-display-over-western-response-to-ukraine-at-security-conference.html
  8. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-idUSKBN0LG0FX20150212
  9. https://www.yahoo.com/news/german-min-minsk-deal-not-wished-101526732.html
  10. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31435812
  11. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/12/ukraine-crisis-reports-emerge-of-agreement-in-minsk-talks
  12. http://www.euronews.com/2015/02/12/breakthrough-in-minsk-as-leaders-agree-to-ceasefire-deal-on-ukraine/
  13. http://www.osce.org/cio/140196
  14. https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-peace-talks-yield-cease-fire-deal-1423731958
  15. https://press.un.org/en/2015/sc11785.doc.htm
  16. http://www.osce.org/ru/cio/140221?download=true
  17. https://ghostarchive.org/archive/20220112/https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/11408266/Minsk-agreement-on-Ukraine-crisis-text-in-full.html
  18. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/12/22/ffci-d22.html
  19. http://archive.today/2022.12.07-202931/https://www.zeit.de/politik/deutschland/2022-11/altbundeskanzlerin-angela-merkel-ukraine-russland
  20. https://www.spiegel.de/panorama/ein-jahr-mit-ex-kanzlerin-angela-merkel-das-gefuehl-war-ganz-klar-machtpolitisch-bist-du-durch-a-d9799382-909e-49c7-9255-a8aec106ce9c
  21. https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=91458
  22. https://www.dw.com/en/angela-merkel-opens-up-on-ukraine-putin-and-her-legacy/a-62052345
  23. https://www.n-tv.de/politik/Merkels-Saetze-und-Putins-Luegen-article23819323.html
  24. https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidaxe/2021/12/06/for-the-russians-crossing-ukraines-trenches-could-be-a-bloody-grind/
  25. https://coffeeordie.com/ukraine-front-line
  26. https://journalist.today/en/barbed-wire-trenches-and-surveillance-cameras-ukraine-building-an-intellectual-border-with-russia-photos/
  27. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia%E2%80%93Ukraine_border#Ukrainian_border_barrier
  28. Ukraine burrows 400 kilometers of anti-tank trenches on border with Russia Tass, 05 May 2021
  29. Jacob Dreizin - https://thedreizinreport.com/2022/03/27/final-battle-for-the-donbass-takes-shape/