Confessions by Hollande and Merkel are ‘formalization of betrayal’ – top Russian senator
Thousands of people have lost their lives in eastern Ukraine since 2014 because the West treated the Minsk agreements as scrap paper, the vice speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament said on Saturday.
Senator Konstantin Kosachev was reacting to an admission by former French president Francois Hollande that the Minsk agreements were actually a ploy to buy time for the Kiev government to strengthen its military. This move should be credited for Ukraine’s “successful resilience” to Russia in the ongoing conflict with its neighbor, he added.
Hollande was echoing a statement by former German chancellor Angela Merkel, who described the Minsk accords in December as “an attempt to give Ukraine time” to build up its armed forces.
The Minsk-1 and Minsk-2 deals were signed in 2014 and 2015 following mediation by Germany, France and Russia. They were designed to put an end to fighting between Kiev and the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk by giving them special status within the Ukrainian state. Kiev’s failure to implement those agreements has been cited as one of the reasons for Moscow launching its military operation on February 24.
“For the West, the territorial integrity of Ukraine is all about control over land and not about achieving social consensus. It’s about territory, not people. It’s about violence, not negotiations,” Kosachev wrote on Telegram.
This approach “directly contradicts so-called European values,” he said. The senator noted that Western attitudes towards the territorial integrity of the UK and Spain have been completely different in the face of Scotland and Catalonia’s push for independence.
“The confessions by Merkel and Hollande are a formalization of betrayal… The price of this betrayal is thousands of human lives lost over the past eight years of civil war in Ukraine. The civil war that the West didn’t stop by treating the Minsk agreements as scrap paper,” Kosachev wrote.
According to the UN estimates, more than 14,000 people were killed in Donbass between 2014 and early 2022.
The only co-author of the Minsk agreements that genuinely tried to act as a guarantor was Russia, the senator claimed. Moscow sided with the people and left the territorial issue aside for as long as “it was still possible to implement the Minsk accord,” he added.
The People’s Republic of Donetsk and Lugnask, as well as Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, joined the Russian state in autumn after holding referendums. Kiev and its Western backers have called the votes a “sham” and refused to recognize the results.