Minsk 2.0 raises prospect of Donbas frozen conflict

Monday, February 16, 2015

Significance

Doubts about Minsk 2.0's viability have surfaced immediately, with continued heavy fighting around the strategic rail hub of Debaltseve. The agreement itself does not include full details of the tactical battlefield situation and thus leaves specific aspects of the agreement open to interpretation. Minsk 2.0 also allows for the decentralisation of powers but President Petro Poroshenko has previously announced that Ukraine's federalisation is not an option. However, this is what Russia and the separatists really desire in order for them to have a greater say over Ukraine's future.

Impacts

  • The ceasefire is likely to deepen the rift between Poroshenko and pro-Kyiv volunteer battalions
  • Total breakdown of Minsk 2.0 will increase the risk of a US decision to provide lethal defensive military aid to Ukraine.
  • Debaltseve risks becoming another Donetsk airport and may scupper Minsk 2.0, as the airport struggle contributed to derailing Minsk 1.0.
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