June, 25

Unique TCG meeting. "Minsk" in detail

09/18/2020 05:21:48 pm
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"Give Nikanorova the floor, this is their territory!". Russia's representative in the TCG B.Gryzlov instructed special representative of the OSCE head Heidi Grau to give the floor to "Minister of Foreign Affairs" of the "DNR" Nikanorova… The latter also made no bones, having stated the First President of Ukraine that they were "a young developing state" and they have something to spend their valuable time on, except for negotiations with Ukraine…

I did not know that we were negotiating with a "young developing state" in Minsk… Mr. Kravchuk, who did not expect such impudence, did not even understand what she was talking about, he decided that Nikanorova called Ukraine a "young developing state". By the way, about "their territory" – he demanded an apology from Gryzlov, if this is a slip of the tongue, or clarifications, if this is the official position of the Russian Federation. Nobody, of course, apologized… It took off from there: during the humanitarian track, they began to offer us to "make a personnel decision" on representative of Ukraine in the humanitarian subgroup Halyna Tretyakova, whom they did not like, probably, because she reproached Russia with the fact of the ongoing procedural criminal prosecution of our sailors…

This is to understand the mood and environment at the "negotiations".

Well, I do not even write about Russia – "not a party to the conflict". We are systematically accustomed to this and diplomatically "streamline", as well as the OSCE. Although, I have a poor understanding of how such status of the Russian Federation and the inscriptions "Nikanorova DNR" and "Danego LNR" under their windows on the monitor (negotiations are taking place online) relates to the law of Ukraine "On the peculiarities of state policy on ensuring the state sovereignty of Ukraine in the temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts". After all, the role of Russia there is clearly indicated and is far from the mediating, and the "Nikanorovs-Danegos" are defined as "occupation administrations". I mean, how does this correlate for us – after all, we remain citizens of Ukraine even in the diplomatic process and must be guided by the laws of Ukraine. However, maybe, I still have not dig such subtleties of diplomacy…

But, let us get back to the meat! – Yesterday's TCG was unique. This was stated by two moderators of the OSCE subgroups at once. Ambassador Morel (political subgroup) said he had not encountered such a situation during all his 50 years of diplomatic practice. Ambassador Cevik (security subgroup) also stressed that he had closed a meeting of his subgroup ahead of schedule for the first time in his years of work in the TCG. The moderator of the humanitarian subgroup did not say anything like that, but her work also continues to be blocked by collaborators from CADLO. They do not even provide the exchange lists. The Russian puppets still cite the Verkhovna Rada's resolution on local elections as a reason to surprise foreign diplomats. As well as a month ago, they demand its abolition in the part that says that the elections in CADLO cannot take place until Ukraine gains control over its border. It is interesting that the ultimatum to Ukraine is put forward by representatives of Russia from CADLO, the Russian Federation itself, as head of its delegation Gryzlov indicated once again, is a "mediator". The day before, his subordinate Mr. Dmitriyevskiy also stated at a meeting of the political subgroup that "Ukraine is in conflict with CADLO". Although, if CADLO is not a geopolitical subject, but only certain areas of Ukraine, the subjectivity of which is not recognized by the same Russia, then how…?

So, there is little logic in these negotiations. However, what kind of logic can be expected from them if the same Nikanorova and Danego cannot remember that they are taking part in a meeting not of the Contact Group, but of the Trilateral (!) Contact Group for the 140th time. Perhaps, the situation with vitamins is bad in the Russian World…

As before, they are trying to impose the fixation of some agreements on Ukraine for the umpteenth time: protocols, additional measures, letters, etc. – whatever, so that the signatures of "ministers" of the "young developing states" were on the same document signed by the representative of Ukraine. "We do not need this", - Mr. Kravchuk said.

They were offended that the joint one-time (!) inspection near Shumy did not take place and suggested that the joint inspection be systematic. However, mutual this time as well, so that we can inspect "their territory" together with them too.

Of course, we refused: firstly, the Minsk package of measures clearly states that the OSCE is carrying out "verification of the ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons" and there is not a word about joint inspections. Secondly, carrying out some additional inspections would be tantamount to expressing no confidence in the OSCE, and we trust it for now. That is, we have once again confirmed our commitment to the Minsk Package of Measures and respect for the mediator in the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia – the OSCE.

I draw your attention – this is important: there was no talk about the controversial Resolution of the Rada at the meeting of the subgroup on security. Nevertheless, it, in fact, also turned out to be blocked. There were no decisions on demining, sections of the troops withdrawal, or something else from what the Paris N-4 summit defined as the task of the TCG! That is, the real goal of the blockade of negotiations and all these ultimatums is not the Verkhovna Rada Resolution, allegedly violating the Minsk Agreements, but the Normandy Four summit, which, as Russia has repeatedly stated, cannot take place until the decisions of the previous summit are fulfilled. But this is my conclusion as an analyst, not as a representative of CADO in the TCG.

Now let us return to the Decree on the appointment of local elections. Why are they needed it and what should we do with it? Of course, the Russian Federation is not interested in the elections in CADLO now. This is for sure! If only because the "dialogue on the modality of elections" should be conducted on the basis of the Law on Special Status according to the Minsk Package of Measures. Namely, its discussion was blocked by the Russian puppets. So the goal, once again, is not elections. The decree is just a TRIGGER, not a reason!

What, in my opinion, should be done in this case? To be honest, if it were up to me I would interrupt the negotiations immediately after Nikanorova's statement about the "young developing state" and Gryzlov's passage that "this is their territory." Until all three parties of the TCG decide what CADLO is, how five differs from three, who, in general, these people are and what the parties to the conflict are. That is, as the famous character of the famous film said: "who will pay for this banquet". But the leadership, out of motives that are not voiced to us, strives to preserve the negotiation process at any cost. Our business is small, - we will keep it. But make adjustments too! – as it is written in the Minsk Package of Measures: by way of "consultations and approvals" - we represent CADO for a purpose…

Actually, I have spoken on this topic so often in recent days that there is no strength to repeat myself. I will just copy the text of my yesterday's flash interview to Dzerkalo Tyzhnia.

"- I want to draw the attention of everyone, especially the deputies, that by the paragraph of the Resolution on the primacy of control over the border before the elections, the parliament only fixed the red line, defined by President Zelensky and declared by him many times: the border at first, then the elections. The President said this at the Normandy meeting in Paris. He openly admitted many times that this contradicts the Minsk package of measures, but this is a position that is unacceptable for Ukraine, since it does not allow for truly democratic and transparent elections to be held in CADLO. This is the controversial point that the Normandy four leaders should solve, if they want progress in resolving the conflict. Putin did not throw a temper tantrum in this regard in Paris. And now Russia is suddenly drawing a line in the sand, although the Resolution of the Rada is of a one-time nature, and the Minsk document says that elections in CADLO should be extraordinary and pass under a separate law.

That is, Russia's ultimatum is absolutely unconstructive and has nothing to do with the desire to really resolve the conflict. This is just an excuse to block the negotiation process. The fulfillment of the ultimatum will not in any way affect the progress in the TCG, on the contrary, indulging the aggressor will create an incentive for him to demand more and more concessions and block negotiations again and again.

But what is worse is that the cancellation or amendment of this Resolution would mean Ukraine's departure from the red line. This will create a precedent when we will no longer be able to say during negotiations in the TCG or at the Normandy level that the post-election border rule is unacceptable for Ukrainian society and will never pass in the Ukrainian parliament. We will be told that it has already passed and the society has already accepted it. Therefore, by canceling or adjusting the resolution to satisfy the Russian ultimatum, we, in fact, recognize the possibility of holding elections without control over border. This will give the enemy the opportunity to demand the implementation of the Package of Measures in full, including in the part where it says that the elections at first, then the border.

In addition, I draw your attention to the fact that the ultimatum in the TCG is not presented to us by the Russian delegation, but by its puppets from CADLO. Thus, they are trying to fix the subjectivity of CADLO as a party to the conflict and negotiations, which is unacceptable for Ukraine and directly contradicts the law "On the peculiarities of state policy on ensuring the state sovereignty of Ukraine in the temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts".

Another danger of "bringing the decision of the Verkhovna Rada in line with the Minsk Agreements" is actual legitimization of the Minsk Agreements by the Ukrainian parliament, which the Verkhovna Rada has so far managed to avoid. Let me remind you: Minsk is not an international legal act, but simply a political agreement, with unidentified parties to the conflict and negotiations, and even signed by Ukraine under military pressure from Russia around Debaltseve.

I am sure that if the Russian ultimatum is satisfied, this act of national humiliation will not advance us even a step towards peace. We will make another concession to the occupiers, inflict moral and diplomatic damage on ourselves, escalate the internal political situation, and Russia, if it is interested in dragging out the negotiations, will simply find a new reason. We cannot concede!

Kachura's "compromise" version is also absolutely unacceptable! He emasculates Russia from the Rada Resolution, relieves it of responsibility for the impossibility of holding elections in CADLO while the occupation of these territories continues. This works for the Russian narrative about the "internal Ukrainian conflict".

Moreover, removing Russia from the decision of the Verkhovna Rada, we limit our sovereignty, demonstrate obedience to the incomprehensible "Minsk", but at the same time, ignore our own law " On the peculiarities of state policy on ensuring the state sovereignty of Ukraine in the temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts". So what is more important for us: not clear what, adopted at gunpoint, or the Law of Ukraine signed by the President of Ukraine? The red line indicated by President Zelensky should remain red. I hope the Servant of the People deputies will not betray their president".

S.Harmash, representative of CADO of Ukraine in the Minsk TCG, OstroV's editor-in-chief