The conflict in Donbas is not frozen and may soon require more attention

28 May 2020

(Friends of Europe) The Minsk II agreement was signed in 2015 with the intention of settling the conflict in Ukraine’s Donbas. Yet, it was doomed from the outset as it was founded on false pretences. Russia pretended it was not a party to the conflict. Europe pretended it agreed. And Ukraine, at that moment cornered militarily and diplomatically, pretended it was going to implement the deal.

Today, more than five years on, it should come as no surprise that any attempts to achieve progress on the ground, based on the Minsk accords, have little prospect. There is simply no incentive to carry them out.

Moscow refers to the letter of the document and insists that Ukraine could restore its sovereign control over the breakaway territories only after elections are held there and a special status is established for those territories within Ukraine. Not overly concerned with Western economic sanctions, which do not hinder energy trade with Russia, nor with the relatively minor costs of supporting separatist entities, the Kremlin sees no need to alter its approach. [...]

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