Six Questions that the Minsk Agreements Raise
The text, entitled “the Package of Measures on the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements”, is without a doubt a step forward. But there are still a number of questions that remain unanswered.
1) Point 7. Provide humanitarian aid based on an international mechanism. Does such a mechanism exist? If it does not, then who exactly should be tasked with setting one up? And within what timeframes?
2) Point 8. Restore management over the Ukrainian banking system in order to fully restore social and economic connections. What are the timeframes for implementing this point?
3) Point 10. Disarmament of all illegal groups. Are the armed forces in the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics considered illegal under this document? What are the timeframes for implementing this point?
4) Point 11. If the issue of constitutional reform is put to a national referendum, will it be truly national? In other words, will all territories, including those is the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, be able to vote? How does this point relate to Point 9 about the restoration of full control over the state border of Ukraine in the event that the referendum delivers a negative result (a vote against the decentralization of Ukraine)?
5) Point 12. What exactly does “local government” mean here? Is it on the municipal level? Or will elections also determine and legitimize the leaders of the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics as the heads of individual regions? This is an important question, for the first scenario very much resembles a unitary state. The second, however, allows for genuine federalization to be achieved.
6) Point 13 (notes). The creation of people’s militia units to address local councils. What powers will these militia units have? Who will they answer to? Whose orders will they carry out? What will the territorial structures of these councils be (see Question 5)?
The bottom line is that a formula for the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis is taking shape, and it reminiscent of the one used to resolve the “Chechen question”. This is an achievement in itself, as a vector for settlement has been set.
The main thing now is to preserve the political will to implement these decisions and iron out any points of contention that remain. There is still much work to be done.
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of the questions raised by the Minsk agreements. Add your own in the comments below.