The United Nations (U.N.) has announced the peace negotiations focused on implementing the 2014 Minsk Protocol and resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine have stalled. U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenca made the comment in a speech before the U.N. Security Council on February 12, at an event marking the fourth anniversary of the accords. Jenca said negotiations “appear to have lost momentum” and that neither Russia nor Ukraine appear to agree on key steps moving forward.
The conflict, which broke out in 2014 as a means to create a diversion permitting Russia to annex Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, has led to the deaths of more than 10,000 people and displaced more than one million. The fighting has been between Ukrainian government forces and associated militias against Russian-backed insurgents—a moniker often applied to provide plausible deniability for Russian Army regulars fighting in the region.
Signed on the 5th of September, 2014 when the fighting initially broke out, the Minsk Accords established a game plan of political steps, elections, and the de-escalation of fighting, which would ideally resolve the conflict. This fell apart within 48 hours. Later, on 11th of February, 2015, the Minsk II accords were conceived. Although the second agreement was more closely adhered to, it has been far from a blueprint to end the war.
The U.N. declaring that the agreement is losing momentum should inform the world that a new direction to resolve this conflict is required. It’s only surprising that it took the U.N. so long to make this statement, considering the Minsk Accords were a lost cause from the beginning and should have been addressed in 2016/2017.