Written by Naja Bentzen and Giulio Sabbati
One month after leaders from France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia reached a 13-point peace agreement in Minsk on 12 February 2015 – Minsk II, a follow-up to the September 2014 Minsk Protocol – the ceasefire is shaky, although it has at least reduced the number of deaths in combat, and the pressure on the international community to act continues.
While Russia denies accusations that it has been sending troops and weapons to support separatists in Ukraine’s east, the undeclared ‘hybrid war’ is developing on all fronts. In the face of a shaky ceasefire and Ukraine’s crumbling economy, the EU, the US and major international actors are discussing possible political, military, and economic responses to the deteriorating crisis. At the same time, EU Member States and NATO are stepping up efforts to counter Russia’s ‘information warfare’.
The on-going crisis in Ukraine erupted after former President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an Association Agreement with the EU in November 2013 and sought closer ties to Russia. Russia’s active role in the eastern Ukraine crisis has exposed divides in the EU and the international community on how to react to hybrid threats. It comes at a time when the effectiveness of the EU’s Neighbourhood Policy, including the Eastern Partnership, is being questioned.
This briefing is a follow-up to the 12 February 2015 briefing ‘Minsk peace agreement: still to be consolidated on the ground’ .
Read this Briefing on Ukraine after Minsk II: the next level in PDF
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I apologise for cherry-picking, but on p. 3 you refer to Lamberto Zanieri who seemingly stated that ‘that OSCE observers already operating on the ground cannot fully confirm withdrawal on both sides as they do not have access to all relevant locations’. Your interpretation of Zanieri’s words is misleading. In the hyperlink to Reuters you provide in no way Zanieri referred to the ‘both sides’. And I very much doubt that you can find evidence elsewhere that the Ukrainian governemnt hinders OSCE observers’ access to the areas under its own control.
Thank you for your comment. The sentence in the text that you refer to is by no means a direct quotation, and is not indicated as such. In the Reuters interview, Zannier explains the limits the OSCE experiences regarding the monitoring. He states that “My main problem in this moment is not the numbers (of OSCE observers), it’s the access”, adding that “If they (the observers) had more access, I could get more out of them. That is really my challenge.” The assessment that the limited access hampers the monitoring of the withdrawal, thus making it hard to assess the development, is backed up by other sources, for example: OSCE Says Heavy Weapons Moving in Ukraine, but Unsure of Withdrawal (WSJ, 27 February 2015).