The deadline for the Minsk agreements to be fulfilled is the end of 2015. In 2016, the Minsk process cannot be continued, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said at Yalta European Strategy annual meeting in Kiev on Sept 11.
“I have asked Leonid Kuchma, my representative in the Contact Group, to take back his statement that the Minsk process may be continued in 2016. No, all the parties must fulfill their obligations in 2015,” Poroshenko said.
It seems that former president of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma is already aware of Poroshenko’s position. During the meeting, he said that Ukraine wanted the Minsk agreements to be implemented by the end of 2015 and sought to restore control over its border with Russia. “This is a matter of principle for us,” he said.
He said that it was time to enlarge the special operation in Donbass. “This may help us to restore peace in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, with all Russian hirelings and arms to be withdrawn and also regain control over our border with Russia,” Kuchma said.
On Sept 10, Kuchma said that the Contact Group on Donbass wanted to prolong the Minsk process till 2016 unless the Minsk agreements were fulfilled in 2015. The EU’s representative Martin Schulz said the same earlier. The representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics also keep in mind this possibility.
On the same day, Spokesperson of Russia’s Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said that the policy of the Kiev authorities was making things even worse. “Their reluctance to negotiate with Donetsk and Lugansk is not good for the peace process. Only a direct dialogue can guarantee peace and stability in the southeast of Ukraine,” Zakharova said.
According to Russia’s Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov, the West is playing a dangerous game when says that the Minsk agreements will be undermined if local elections are held in Donbass. “This also concerns Kiev’s reluctance to adopt the law on a special status of Donbass, the absence of a direct dialogue on the constitutional reform and the ambiguous constitutional provision on self-government in Donetsk and Lugansk regions. This also concerns the law on amnesty as without it one can hardly expect the elections to be free and fair,” Lavrov said.
On Sept 9, the leaders of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia agreed to continue the Normandy Four process. This implies a meeting of the foreign ministers in Berlin on Sept 12 and a meeting of the presidents in Paris on Oct 2.