Kremlin experts made “eternal” freezing of the conflict in the Donbass

The Ukrainian military

Photo: Valentyn Ogirenko / Reuters

The resolution of the conflict in the Donbass can drag on for years, if not forever. This forecast experts close to the Kremlin, the center of political environment think is the most realistic

Disagreement Kiev

February 12, the anniversary of the signing of the second Minsk agreement in early 2015, their implementation slowed down considerably. According to the report (RBC) close to the Kremlin, of the political conjuncture (TSPK), “from February 2016, in addition to cultivation of the parties at a safe distance on two parts of the contact line, there have been no significant positive steps”. The experts remind that recently sharply escalated military confrontation in the Donbass. In late January, fights with use of tanks and heavy artillery were in the area of Avdeevka near Donetsk.

As highlighted in the report, of the 13 items of the package of measures to implement Minsk agreements made it possible to consider only two, partially implemented three, and the remaining — eight. “All key points in the sphere of security and policy is either not implemented or only partially implemented,” — noted experts.

Among the partially implemented measures in the report are the work of the monitoring mission of the OSCE to control ceasefire, the release of some hostages (although not in the “all for all”, as envisaged in the agreements), as well as “the beginning of a dialogue on the modalities of local elections [in Donbas] in accordance with the legislation of Ukraine”. Experts clarify that further adoption of this law has blocked the Verkhovna Rada.

Fully implemented no requirements about the restoration of socio-economic ties between Kiev and Donbass, nor the point about the constitutional reform in Ukraine, neither Amnesty participants of the events of 2014. The experts of the CPC recognize that fully implemented only the provisions on strengthening the work of the trilateral contact group and the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

According to the authors of the report, the key blame for the failure of implementation of the agreements lies with the Kiev government, which initially considered the agreement “as unfavorable”. “The Ukrainian side insists on implementation of all safety items, including the full restoration of control over the border, before proceeding to implement its political commitments,” the document says.

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What’s going on near Donetsk

Almost a week last battles between the forces of the Ukrainian army and the self-proclaimed Donetsk people’s Republic in the town and some areas near Donetsk. “Minsk…

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War is not excluded

The most unlikely scenario at CTC believe a peaceful settlement within the next three to five years. According to experts, talking about this only a few participants in the negotiations — only to “preserve optimism in the public opinion”.

Even if Ukraine in the coming year will be held early parliamentary and presidential elections, “qualitative progress” in the peace settlement it will not, the authors add.

Increased, however, in their opinion, the probability of aggravation of the military conflict: “the parties to the conflict lack the resources to do this. However, until the Armed forces of Ukraine and republics of Donbass will not be divorced at a safe distance from the line of contact and begins to adhere to the cease-fire, the possibility of resumption of regular military operations also have to admit very high.”

Photo: Gleb Garanich / Reuters

CTC experts draw attention to the lack of attention of international organizations, in particular OSCE, to the aggravation of military confrontation between the Ukrainian side: “This worsening is the fault of Kiev, at the level of officials confirmed the implementation of the policy of “gradual occupation of neutral territory,” and does not lead to the necessary assessment by the OSCE”.

Experts call the match “non-random”, suggesting that the Ukrainian side makes a “deliberate provocation”. The OSCE, in their opinion, “use” emerging humanitarian-environmental issues “as an excuse to displace the militia of the republics, the creation of “demilitarized zones” with subsequent employment of the Armed forces of Ukraine”.

“Eternal” freezing

But as the most plausible and realistic the authors have identified a scenario that the conflict in Ukraine is waiting for the freeze “for many years, if not forever.”

“The parties will continue to diverge in the practice of political and social institutions,” the authors note, adding that “in the end, if there will be a return to the theme of reintegration [of Donbass], only in the form of a Confederation”. The return of war-torn areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions in the near future experts do not predict.

The long freeze is the most realistic scenario, because in this case the loss of all of the parties is not so significant, said RBC Director of CTC Alexei Chesnakov. “In other scenarios, someone loses everything, — the expert added. [In the case of the freeze scenario] the Republic win. After all other options have made them instruments and entities.”

Ukrainian political analyst Vadim Karasev sure that the script is a complete freeze is not beneficial primarily Russia itself: “It is simply impossible, Donbass — not Transnistria, not Abkhazia. The most profitable for Russia to “return” the territory of Ukraine, but the status of DND and LNR. Ukraine is unacceptable”.

Therefore, according to Karasev, in the future, the Minsk process is waiting for any further probatova, or the progress in the implementation of the agreements. A key role here, says the expert, can play the position of the new US administration and President Donald trump. According to him, the fate of the Minsk agreements and influence, and that the “resolution of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine may be grounds for the lifting of sanctions”.

With the participation of Vladimir Dergacheva

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