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Sanctions and isolation: the price of Russia’s violation of the Minsk Agreements

Article by: Zhanna Bezpyatchuk
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Kyiv – The US and Ukraine consider the Minsk Accords to be the most acceptable form of regulating the conflict in Donbas. However, Ukraine’s American partners think that Russia is not carrying out its key obligations. This was stated by US Vice President Joe Biden at a meeting with the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko this Friday. According to him, if all this continues, further isolation awaits Russia. Petro Poroshenko emphasized that close cooperation with the US helps his country fight for its independence and territorial integrity in the Patriotic War of 2014 for Ukraine’s Independence. 

The anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity, the visit of the US Vice President and the signing of the coalition all coincided in time. Petro Poroshenko and Joe Biden came to speak to the press in good cheer, assuring they had managed to discuss many important issues.

However, the term ‘Geneva format’ for international talks regarding the regulation of the conflict in the East of Ukraine, which prescribes the involvement of the US, did not sound from the Ukrainian President nor the American Vice President. Both decided to cite the ‘Minsk Format’ as the most acceptable.

Petro Poroshenko stated in this regard: “Ukraine firmly adheres to all of the obligations it took on during the signing of the Minsk protocol and the Minsk memorandum. We have a common opinion that it was the base format all sides should use. And we will do everything possible to ensure it.”

Biden does not see grounds for rational discussion regarding sanctions against Russia

However, none of the obligations Russia had taken on by the Minsk protocol had been executed in practice, emphasized Vice President Joe Biden. If this continues, Russia will face further isolation, he added.

Biden listed the obligations that have not been executed: a bilateral ceasefire, Ukraine restoring control over its border and joint monitoring of the latter, removal of illegal armed formations, military equipment and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine, freeing all hostages.

Biden said that had Russia carried out all obligations and respected Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, they would be able to begin rationally discussing the sanctions. However, this is not what is happened. Instead, the US observes more provocative actions, more obvious disregard towards the Minsk accords, which were signed by Russia not so long ago.

The official called the illegal ‘elections’ the Kremlin held on November 2 on the territories under pro-Russian control a “farce.”

He emphasized that in case of further lack of compliance, Russia would pay dearly and face further isolation.

Cooperation in the defense sphere will continue, unclear how

The Ukrainian President thanked his partners in the US for continuing cooperation in the sphere of defense which, as he emphasized, help Ukraine fight for its sovereignty and territorial integrity today. However, he did not say exactly whether cooperation presumes the emergence of new elements, such as supplies of lethal weaponry from the US

Tony Blinken

The possibility of the latter happening was entertained numerous time by US Republican Congressmen. Besides, on November 20, at the hearing in the US Congress, Tony Blinken, Assistant to the President of the United States and Deputy National Security Adviser, whom President Obama proposes as the Deputy Secretary of State, claimed that his country could reexamine its policy of not supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine. After the midterm elections, the Republicans have the majority in both chambers of the US Congress.

Besides issues of defense and national security, the US Vice President and the Ukrainian President discussed issues of energy. As such, Petro Poroshenko announced the mechanism of “crisis coordination” between US and Ukraine in case Russia stops supplying gas in the midst of winter, though he emphasized that agreements in Russia had been reached.

“We discussed the issue of our cooperation in energy. There are many ways of cooperation, from nuclear energy to crisis coordination in case the situation with gas supplies becomes questionable,” said the head of State.

Joe Biden emphasized again that the issue of successful systemic reform is important to the US Putting an end to corruption and patiently building democracy, to his mind, have to constitute the basis of the Ukrainian state and people’s agenda.

The US, on their part, promise financial support to Ukraine. The Vice President noted that he had met with the IMF leadership regarding this issue, together with US President Barack Obama.

The US Vice President assured that as long as Ukraine continues its course, its international partners, including the US, would come together to help. They cooperate closely with international institutions to guarantee Ukraine’s having financial resources and support it needs.

This is the third visit the US Vice President has paid to Ukraine in the past seven months. This time Joe Biden came to the Ukrainian capital on the first anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity which, according to him, gave the country a chance to fundamentally change its own history.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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