US contradicts Ukraine on peace plan
Washington is thoroughly supportive of the Minsk agreements and backs their “full implementation by all parties,” despite claims by a senior official in Kiev that they could lead to the complete destruction of Ukraine, a US State Department spokesman said on Wednesday.
The Minsk agreements are two peace treaties signed in 2014 and 2015, and brokered by France and Germany, that aimed to put an end to the war in Donbass.
The conflict began eight years ago after the events of the Maidan, when violent street protests toppled the democratically elected government in Ukraine. This eventually led to the two self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) declaring independence, a move recognized by neither Moscow nor Kiev. Ukraine believes Russia is backing the two republics.
Apart from a ceasefire, the Minsk agreements also include a pledge for constitutional reform in Ukraine, which must include decentralization and extra powers for the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Thus far, this plan is yet to be implemented, with Kiev seeming reluctant to go through with the program.
According to State Department spokesman Ned Price, Washington remains entirely in support of the two treaties.
“We have encouraged full implementation by all parties of the Minsk agreements,” Price said at a press briefing. “All parties need to adhere to the Minsk agreements as a way to de-escalate tensions, especially in this environment.”
He also accused Russia of breaking the agreements, calling Moscow “primarily responsible for most of the violations.”
The US has previously accused Moscow of backing illegal armed groups in Donbass, and has even accused the Kremlin of putting its own troops in the region. According to the treaties, all foreign fighters must be moved from Ukraine.
Price’s statement could be interpreted as the latest public contradiction in the ongoing row between Kiev and Washington. Last month, America’s CNN reported that US President Joe Biden’s administration is growing frustrated with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s willingness to downplay the threat of Russian invasion. The White House has previously described an invasion as “imminent.”
Now, Price has thrown his backing behind a treaty that, according to the head of Kiev’s National Security and Defense Council, could lead to the complete destabilization of Ukraine.
“The fulfillment of the Minsk agreement means the country’s destruction,” Alexey Danilov said. “When they were signed under the Russian gun barrel – and the German and the French watched – it was already clear for all rational people that it’s impossible to implement those documents.”
According to Danilov, the West is pressuring Ukraine to fulfill a deal that could cause immense instability.
“If they insist on the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements as they are, it will be very dangerous for our country,” he said. “If the society doesn’t accept those agreements, it could lead to a very difficult internal situation, and Russia counts on that.”
Price’s comments come as Russia stands accused of placing 100,000 troops on the frontier, with some alleging it is planning an attack. This claim has repeatedly been denied by the Kremlin.