Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 05.10.2018
Ukraine sticks to the Minsk Agreement. On Thursday, the Ukrainian government reaffirmed its adherence to the “local elections” provision. But Ukraine is the only one following the ceasefire deal. The Russian Federation continues its war against Ukraine, and violates every provision of Minsk. That is why sanctions on the Putin regime must not only continue, but must must become broader and deeper. As long as Muscovy does not stop its invasion of Ukraine, there must be real costs imposed on the aggressor.
Believing it is vital to national security policy, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, wants to uphold Ukraine’s side of the Minsk Agreement. He asked the Verkhovna Rada to extend legislation about local self-government in the areas of Luhansk and Donetsk regions that have been invaded and occupied by the Russian Federation. On October 4, the parliament agreed with the President, and passed an extension of the Law of Ukraine: “On the special order of local self-government in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.”
Article 4 of the Minsk Agreement of 11 February 2015 reads as follows: “Launch a dialogue, on day 1 of the withdrawal, on modalities of local elections in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and the Law of Ukraine ‘On interim local self-government order in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions’ as well as on the future regime of these areas based on this law.”
Those “certain areas” are the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and they are labelled ORDLO. The unwieldy acronym ORDLO is made from the Ukrainian: Окремі райони Донецької та Луганської областей (Okremi rayony Donetskoyi ta Luhans’koyi oblastey). ORDLO was recognized by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as being temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation, which is exactly the same legal status as Crimea. The Russian Federation invaded Ukraine on 20 February 2014, continues to wage war against Ukraine, and Crimea and ORDLO – part of Donbas – are Ukrainian territories it temporarily occupies.
After Putin’s agents assassinated Aleksandr Zakharchenko (figurehead of the Kremlin’s terrorist organization, the so-called “DPR”) on August 31, the Russian occupation regime announced that it will conduct what it calls “elections.” If the Putin regime carries out its intention, it will be directly violating Article 4 of the Minsk Agreement. It will be doing so soon after the Ukrainian government explicitly upheld Article 4 by extending the law on local self-government in ORDLO.
The Ukrainian government is telling its friends and partners internationally that the Kremlin is grossly violating the obligations of the Russian Federation as a party to the Minsk Agreements. The invaders of Ukraine in Crimea and ORDLO – some of Donbas – are in violation of every provision of the ceasefire. Muscovy plans to breaks the provision to “launch a dialogue” about local self-government at the same time as Ukraine reaffirmed its commitment to that dialogue. For that, the Putin regime must face severe and compelling punishment.