Before 24 February 2022, the Russian-Ukrainian agreements signed in the capital of Belarus in 2014–2015 were seen by many observers as a path to a settlement of the Donbas conflict. However, the contradictory Minsk deals were signed under duress. Contrary to a common belief held over the past seven years, the various documents the Kremlin forced on Kyiv in the context of devastating Ukrainian military defeats by regular and irregular Russian forces in September 2014 and February 2015 were not a solution but part of the problem. These agreements were partially in manifest violation of international law as they undermined such principles as the political sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, non-use of force and national self-determination. Their welcome and legitimization by various Western states effectively helped to make more permanent transgressions that undermined the post-1945 international system. The Minsk Agreements also implicitly undermined basic democratic standards. They constituted Kremlin instruments to harvest the fruits of Russia’s initially covert military aggression against Ukraine. Oddly, Western states furthered the Kremlin’s obvious subversion of the European Security Order by condoning the conclusion of the
Minsk Agreements and pressuring Ukraine to implement their more dubious provisions, while also insufficiently supporting a normatively acceptable interpretation of the agreements and not holding Moscow accountable for its violations of the agreements and subversion of the negotiations in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) and elsewhere.
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