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Minsk deal: will the West once again be tricked by Russia?

By Messenger Staff
Monday, February 16
It took around 17 hours of talks for European and Russian leaders to reach a ceasefire agreement between Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels in the country’s east. The leaders of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia agreed that the hostilities would stop starting from February 15.

While for now Ukraine’s east seems to be calm, there is no guarantee for peace in the country. The international community remains skeptical about the agreement, as the most unpredictable country-Russia is involved in the events.

Now it is important for the West to keep vigil and do not allow Moscow to use the Minsk agreement to strengthen its positions and avoid sanctions. Russia can easily start preparations for a new wave of aggression and no one knows which state will be the victim this time.

Russia has been denying accusations that it is involved in the Ukrainian crisis, but still it is clear Moscow has been supporting the rebels. Therefore, peace in Ukraine highly depends on whether Russia fulfills its international duty and meets the requirements of the Minsk agreement or not. French and German leaders confirmed that the agreement is not comprehensive and still leaves many crucial issues to be dealt with.

What are the chances for Russia to fulfill the agreement? France and Germany agreed to monitor the implementation of the Minsk agreement, but it is hard to make any predictions when Russia is involved. In 2008, the so-called “Sarkozy agreement” has still not been honored, and Russian troops still maintain their position not far from Tbilisi.

Here in Georgia some analysts think that Russia will not show its good will to Ukraine, and the international community does not have the levers to ensure the fulfillment of the Minsk deal. Maybe the deal will stop the hostilities, but it will not ensure the conflict settlement in Ukraine. Conflict settlement does not meet Russia’s interests. President Vladimir Putin needs to ensure constant destabilization in neighboring countries to make sure he keeps influence in the post-Soviet states.

It looks like Russia will have some profit from the deal. It has been announced that Russian sanctions will not be on the agenda of the next European Union summit. The deadline for sanctions imposed on Russia expire in March 2015 and it appears that they will not be expanded further, which is a victory for the Russian leader.

Russian expert and former adviser of Putin Andrey Ilaryonov, says everything the Russian leader wanted was ensured in the Minsk deal and the only positive thing the deal has brought to Ukraine is the ceasefire.

Ilaryinov explained that the deal imposes responsibilities on fulfilling the provisions on Ukraine, and Russia did not even receive the status of aggressor.

The expert has advice for Ukraine. He says the government should now consider only peaceful ways of conflict settlement and focus its military forces on the protection of international borders. Also, Ukraine should acknowledge Donbas and Crimea as temporarily occupied regions and evacuate the locals.

The fact is that Ukraine’s future is very unclear. Regrettably, Georgia’s future is also attached to the events underway in Ukraine.