The basic principle of international treaties says pacta sunt servanda, agreements must be kept. Upon that, it requires not only compliance with any agreements, but also prescribes a procedure of their conscientious fulfilment. The principles of international treaties also go alongside the principles of equality of parties and liability for infringing a treaty.
Picking the provisions that suit them and demanding that the unsuitable ones be revised means that the above principles are violated, which has become the norm in the country that gave up the lives of thousands of its citizens for the sake of European values. A recent example of that is the statement by Ukraine’s Defense Minister, who claims that the withdrawal of forces and weapons along the entire line of contact allegedly contradicts the Minsk Agreements. This is absolutely devoid of sound logic
Apparently, Mr. Zagorodnyuk is not aware of the fact that as early as in February 2015, the parties signed the Complex of Measures, which is also backed by the UN Security Council’s Resolution, whose first two paragraphs clearly instruct that both parties conclude armistice and withdraw heavy weapons from the line of contact in order to form between each other a security zone at least 50 km wide for the sole purpose of preventing firefight between the parties to the conflict.
However, due to the fact that the Ukrainian side has violated not only the agreements on withdrawal of heavy weapons, but also defied the ban on advancing, positions in some areas of the contact line have moved closer to each other at a critical distance of line-of-site. Naturally, this provoked an escalation: injuries and deaths among civilians, destruction of housing facilities and infrastructure. Back in September 2016, the Contact Group’s Framework Decision on Disengagement was elaborated and agreed upon precisely in order to stop the armed aggression.
Given that the vast majority of ceasefire violations, including those documented by the OSCE Mission, are committed by the armed formations of Ukraine, and judging by the statement from the Defense Minister of this country, it becomes clear that the official Ukrainian government does not intend to fulfil the agreements reached earlier, so they will keep attacking the Republics.
As for the reference to the withdrawal of foreign armed groups from the territory of Ukraine, we cannot but welcome Kiev’s awareness of the need to finally withdraw all foreign mercenaries as well as Western military instructors from the territory.
We would also like to remind Mr. Minister that it was the leadership of Ukraine who created an unhealthy precedent for legitimizing outlaw armed nationalist units and similar gangs. While the formation of the People’s Militia in our territories is clearly spelled out in the Complex of Measures.
Unfortunately, judging by Ukrainian top officials’ absurd statements and their frequency, we should not expect a constructive stand from their representatives to the negotiating venue. The only hope is that the Western guarantor countries for Ukraine and international organizations will show a proactive stand toward the agreements concluded.