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15 Feb, 2022 19:14

Ukraine refuses peace on ‘Russian terms’

The Minsk agreements primarily benefit the Kremlin and not Kiev, according to the Ukrainian foreign affairs minister
Ukraine refuses peace on ‘Russian terms’

Moscow has distorted the terms of the Minsk agreements, two deals designed to create peace in eastern Ukraine, and now the accords are operating solely on “Russian terms,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said on Monday.

Speaking on the phone to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Kuleba accused Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government of distorting the agreement, suggesting that it had made attempts to “manipulate the content of the Minsk agreements and promote a distorted vision of their essence.”

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 the Donbass. The deals sought to create a pathway for peace in the region, including increased autonomy for the area embroiled in conflict. Kiev has refused to move forward with the deals, suggesting they’d be dangerous for the integrity of Ukraine.

The war 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.

According to Kuleba, the accord cannot be implemented because it is too pro-Russia, and Moscow is a “party to the conflict.”

Instead of the current deal, Ukraine would prefer to continue diplomatic and political negotiations with Russia, alongside France and Germany, as part of the so-called Normandy format. Kiev has repeatedly refused to engage in “direct dialogue” with the DPR and LPR, accusing them of being puppets of Russia.

On Tuesday morning, Moscow disagreed with Kuleba’s allegations that the Minsk agreements favor Russia.

“There are no ‘Russian conditions,’ just the ones literally written in the document,” Russian Foreign Minister Maria Zakharova said. “Can these be called ‘Russian’ conditions or common sense? The only thing we are talking about… is the implementation of the Minsk agreements as written.”

She went on to call Kuleba’s statement “a real farce.”