Here’s what the Minsk agreement is and what it could mean for the Russia-Ukraine crisis


As world leaders scramble to find a diplomatic solution to ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine, talks have turned to the 2015 Minsk agreement as a possible way out of the crisis.

The deal, the second of its kind (and the one that counts), was reached in the Belarusian capital in a bid to end what was then a bloody 10-month conflict in eastern Ukraine.

But Minsk II was never fully implemented, with its main issues still unresolved.

Here’s what you need to know:

Who are the key players? A rare meeting between Russian, Ukrainian, German and French leaders in February 2015 aimed to bring peace to areas of Ukraine that had been taken over by pro-Russian separatists the previous year. These areas, in the Donbass region of Ukraine, became the People’s Republic of Luhansk (LPR) and the People’s Republic of Donetsk (DPR). The Ukrainian government in Kyiv claimed that the two regions were in fact occupied by Russia.

The talks also aimed to work towards a political settlement for the region.

The result, Minsk II, was signed by representatives of Russia, Ukraine, separatist leaders and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). It was then endorsed by a UN Security Council resolution.


What were the terms of the deal? A ceasefire. In February 2015, there was still heavy fighting in some areas between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed rebels, with Ukrainians suffering heavy casualties.

The withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front lines.

Let the OSCE – a 57-member security organization that also includes the United States and Canada – watch the front lines.

A dialogue on local elections in areas occupied by pro-Russian rebels.

The restoration of full economic and social ties between the two parties, so that, for example, pensions can be paid.

That the control of the Ukrainian government be restored on the border with Russia.

The withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries.

Constitutional reform that would grant some autonomy to regions in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine that are no longer under the control of the central government.

Read the full story here.

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