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Ukraine's Minsk II Obligations Met in 2022

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In the early stages of the recent troop build up on the border of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin informed US President Joe Biden that Ukraine failed in complying with the Minsk agreements--in particular with respect to semi-political autonomy in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast (Articles 4, 11, and 12). Some analysts have said Ukrainian compliance with Minsk II could satisfy Russia and prevent an invasion.

Will Ukraine fulfill its obligations from the Minsk II agreement with respect to Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast by 2023?

This question resolves positively if there is confirmation from both the Russian and Ukrainian foreign offices or at least two independent, credible media reports stating Ukraine fulfilled its obligations relating to elections and constitutional reform regarding Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast in Articles 4, 11, and 12 of the Minsk II Agreement. This question will also resolve positively if Ukraine fulfills obligations in a new agreement that exceed the ones detailed by Minsk II with respect to granting political autonomy in the Donbas. This question will resolve ambiguously if Russia annexes the relevant districts in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast.

The relevant Minsk II articles are as follows:

Four other sections address political matters:

Article 4: elections in Donbas. The day after the pullback of heavy weaponry from the contact line, a dialogue on local elections will start in accordance with Ukrainian law and the temporary law on special status adopted in September 2014. No later than 30 days after the signing of the Minsk-2 agreement (i.e. by 14 March), Ukraine’s parliament will adopt a resolution defining the area in which the temporary law on special status will apply (to be based on the delineation line in the memorandum of 19 September 2014).

Article 11: constitutional reform. A new Ukrainian constitution will enter into force by the end of 2015. Its ‘key element’ will be ‘decentralization’, which will take account of the ‘peculiarities’ of occupied Donbas, as agreed with the DNR/LNR representatives. Ukraine will also adopt ‘permanent legislation’ on special status before the end of 2015. This law will include: an amnesty; ‘the right of linguistic self-determination’; the involvement of the local authorities in the appointment of prosecutors and courts; agreements between Ukraine’s central authorities and the local authorities covering ‘economic, social and cultural development’; state support for the socio-economic development of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts; assistance from the central authorities to support ‘transnational cooperation’ between the occupied regions and regions of the Russian Federation; rights for local parliaments to create ‘people’s militia units’; and no early termination of the powers of local parliaments and elected officials.

Article 12: elections in Donbas. Election-related questions will be dealt with on the basis of the temporary law on special status adopted in September 2014 and agreed with the DNR/LNR. Elections will be held in accordance with the relevant standards of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

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