Borysfen Intel

A Strategic Precondition for a Peaceful Settlemen in the Donbas

July 31, 2016
<p>A Strategic Precondition for a Peaceful Settlemen in the Donbas</p>

 

Yuriy Radkovets

Regaining control over the eastern section of the Ukrainian-Russian state border contradicts Putin's Russia's geopolitical interests

 

Analysis of the current military-political situation in the ATO zone and of the results of the latest meetings of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk allows the experts of the Independent Analytical Centre for Geopolitical Studies “Borysfen Intel” to state that the Russian Federation will continue as much as possible to block and delay the negotiations on returning to Ukraine the control over the temporarily uncontrolled 409.3 km long section of the Ukrainian-Russian state border.

This was also reported in the representative of Ukraine in the political subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk Yevhen Marchuk's interview to Hromadske TV. According to him, the OSCE Armed Police Mission will hardly appear in the Donbas this year. It should be born in mind that the OSCE Police Mission has no law enforcement function to ensure elections in the Donbas.

At the same time, the issue of regaining control over the temporarily uncontrolled section of the Russian-Ukrainian state border is key and strategically important for Ukraine, provided for by the “Package of Measures Aimed at the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements,” of February 12, 2015, which was enshrined by the adopted by the leaders of the “Normandy Four” (Presidents of France, Ukraine, Russia and German Chancellor) special Declaration.

This issue is strategically important due to the fact that today the Russian Federation provides a powerful military, military-technical, financial and resource support to the Russian-terrorist forces in the Donbas (including illegal armed groups of the so-called “DPR” and “LPR”) by supplying them with arms and military equipment, human and logistical resources through the temporarily uncontrolled section of the Ukrainian-Russian state border.

Thus, the question of the restoration of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine along the whole Ukrainian-Russian state border, contradicts Russia' s today's geopolitical interests.

Quite predicted is the fact that the Russian Federation will keep insisting that the main mechanism for the settlement of the “internal Ukrainian conflict in the Donbas” is adoption of amendments and additions to the Constitution of Ukraine in terms of decentralization and legislative definition of “special status” of certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (ORDLO), which should be agreed with the representatives of these areas. At this, the Russian side will insist only on organization of “direct dialogue” between Kyiv and Donetsk with Luhansk.

The Russian Federation will undoubtedly take this position in the negotiations in the “Normandy Format” during the dialogue with the United States and the EU's leadership, in an address to the German Presidency of the OSCE, as well as cooperating with the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM).

As for Ukraine's regaining control over the temporarily uncontrolled section of the Ukrainian-Russian state border, the Russian Federation will continue insisting on the need to respect the so-called “sequence of actions”, fixed by the “Minsk Agreements” and approved by the leaders of the “Normandy Format”. In particular, in terms of priority of implementation of provisions of the “Package of Measures Aimed at the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements,” dated February 12, 2015, related to the local elections in the Donbas, it will demand adoption of the Law of Ukraine on the special status of certain districts on a regular basis, enshrining the “special status” in the Constitution of Ukraine, as well as carrying out a large-scale amnesty for the “DPR” and “LPR”'s militants.

That is, the Russian side will keep blocking and delaying the negotiation process on returning control over the state border to Ukraine in the format of the work of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk.

At this, the Russian Federation will continue expressing “concern” about the threat of an escalation of fighting in the East of Ukraine, explaining it by “the gradual seizure by Ukrainian military of the neutral zone along the line of demarcation” which supposedly leads to the nearing of the positions of the parties of the conflict and provokes activation of fighting, as well as directly and grossly violates the provisions of the “Package of Measures Aimed at the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements,” dated February 12, 2015.

As evidence of this kind of such Russia's “worries”, it can submit the OSCE SMM's reports on violations of the ceasefire and withdrawal of weapons by both sides, interpreting them in its own way, presenting them exclusively as violations committed allegedly by the Ukrainian side.

At the same time, Russia will continue showing “support” to the efforts of the OSCE Monitoring Mission and the Joint Centre for Monitoring and Coordination (JMCC) to reduce tension along the contact line, as well as pointing out the positive role of joint actions of the OSCE SMM observers and representatives of JMCC in preventing turning of local conflicts along the demarcation line into the large-scale armed confrontation.

Thus, the Russian side will insist on focusing the attention of observers of the OSCE SMM on the territory along the demarcation line, controlled by Ukraine, where the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations and law enforcement agencies are situated, in order to monitor Ukraine's fulfillment of the cease-fire regime, verification of the withdrawn weapons and to record the “Ukrainian military's violations”.

In turn, periodical letting the advanced patrol bases of the OSCE SMM to the checkpoints on the Ukrainian-Russian state border, not controlled by the government of Ukraine, will be presented as “openness and transparency” of the Russian side and its general intention to solve the conflict peacefully.

At the same time, the Russian side will continue urging the OSCE SMM to focus on patrolling exactly the demarcation line, and especially on the implementation of the monitoring control of the points of entry and exit, in order to stop violations at them, to reduce queues, to lift the blockade, etc., explaining this by protection of civil rights of residents of the temporarily uncontrolled by Ukraine ORDLO.

 

Summarizing the above said, we should point out that Ukraine should consistently and purposefully insist on the need to regain control over the temporarily uncontrolled section of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. This position of the Ukrainian side should be a key prerequisite for a peaceful settlement of the military conflict in the Donbas.

An important and unconditional component of this process should also be ensuring of a full and unimpeded access to the OSCE SMM to the uncontrolled section of the Ukrainian-Russian state border and gradual restoration of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in the zone of military conflict.

As for the deployment and using the OSCE Armed Police Mission in the conflict zone, according to participants of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk, it is unlikely to appear in the Donbas this year. We should also take into consideration that the OSCE Police Mission does not have a law enforcement function, so can't ensure local elections in the Donbas.

 

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