MINSK, 9 December (BelTA) - The Minsk agreements remain the only tool to resolve the conflict in the Donbass, political scientist Yuri Shevtsov told the media, BelTA has learned.
The expert stressed that the Minsk agreements are still on the agenda. There is no abandoning them. This is the only tool to resolve the situation in the south-east of Ukraine. It was the Minsk agreements that put an end to the active phase of the war in the Donbass. There is no alternative to them yet, and there is no looking for it. We are talking about the development of the Minsk agreements,” Yuri Shevtsov said.
Touching on the upcoming Normandy summit in Paris, the political scientist noted that he does not expect big statements and decisive steps. Yevgeny Preigerman, the founder and director of the Council for International Relations Minsk Dialogue, expressed a similar view. He cautions against excessive optimism. “However, it is now hoped that through a series of such meetings, including through the mechanism for expanding the disengagement zone, the exchange of prisoners, the parties will be able to make some steps forward,” he believes.
The previous time the heads of the Normandy Four - Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France - met was in the Belarusian capital four years ago. “Leaders do not meet when there is no movement forward let alone a breakthrough. However, this does not mean that no work has been carried out since then. The main mechanism for implementing the Minsk agreements is the trilateral contact group. It has achieved positive results, especially in recent months,” Yevgeny Preigerman said.
Both political scientists agreed that for Belarus the settlement of the conflict in the Donbass is a strategic issue, given the length of the border with Ukraine and the importance of political, trade and economic ties. The conflict in the south-east of Ukraine is the biggest problem of European security, and this is why the parties are trying to prevent its escalation.
The trilateral contact group signed a protocol to begin the peace process in Ukraine in Minsk on 5 September 2014. The Normandy Four leaders reached an agreement on a ceasefire in the Donbass after the 16-hour talks on 11-12 February 2015. A set of measures to implement the Minsk agreements was signed in their presence. This allowed reducing the intensity of hostilities in Ukraine and saving lives on both sides of the contact line.