In a situation where the threat of a new big war in Ukraine has become real, as never before in the seven years of the frozen conflict in the Donbass, political advisers to the leaders of the Normandy Four countries — the architects of the Minsk agreements of 2014-2015 that have not been implemented — after a six-month pause on January 26 met in Paris. We did this in order to look each other in the eyes and understand whether there is a chance to bring the negotiation process on the Ukrainian settlement out of the coma.

The statements of the participants of the meeting, which turned into a negotiating marathon that lasted eight and a half hours, turned out to be restrained, contradictory, but at the same time leaving light at the end of the tunnel. “We had a difficult conversation, but perhaps the first such frank conversation in order to take an inventory of all the problems related to the implementation of the Minsk agreements,” Dmitry Kozak, a Russian participant in the Paris negotiation marathon, told reporters.

According to him, the Normandy format is able to play a decisive role in resolving the conflict in Ukraine, but so far it drags out a miserable existence.

In this regard, the parties agreed to hold additional consultations and meet in Berlin in two weeks to try to find solutions to those problems that have not been resolved for seven years.

In fact, only people who have completely fallen out of the information space or are immersed in their inner universe can not talk about Ukraine and Donbass today.

Or incorrigible cynics who have decided that they do not care deeply about the fate of the world, including in Ukraine, if there are still such people.

There has been no such situation in recent years.

In a whirlwind of shocking news on the Ukrainian topic, which is bombarding us on a daily basis and overwhelms us like a heavy snowfall, many somehow forgot that there are still Minsk peace agreements that no one formally canceled.

Indeed, it would seem, what model of peaceful integration of Donbass into the rest of Ukraine can be discussed, taking into account what has already happened and what is happening today?

The Minsk postulates seem to have completely lost their practical meaning.

In recent years, Kiev has done everything to burn bridges and convince the residents of Donbass that they are definitely out of the way with the country of the “victorious Euromaidan”, which is looking for ways to strangle the DPR and LPR, and not dialogue.

Since Ukraine brings only death to Donbass.

To date, the Ukrainian side has pulled up a 120,000-strong group to the line of contact in Donbass and the best weapons and military equipment it has, which can be used in an attempt to implement an offensive operation against the DPR and LPR according to the “Croatian scenario”.

That is, the aggravation game continues, by the end of January 2022 it reached its peak, in connection with which the provisions of the Minsk agreements look more and more divorced from reality.

If for all the time it was not even possible to fulfill the points on the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the line of contact, not to violate the ceasefire, not to mention the immeasurably more difficult to implement the political part of the agreements, including granting a special status to Donbass, then the conclusion about death Minsk agreements and Normandy format negotiations.

In recent years, Kiev has tried a variety of ways to "slope" from the Minsk agreements, including trying to change the negotiating format and turn the Normandy Four (Germany, France, Russia, Ukraine) into the top five by including the United States in it.

However, neither the Trump administration nor the Biden administration appreciated this idea, saw no point in it.

As recently as January 19, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who visited the Ukrainian capital, announced that there should be no revision of the Minsk agreements, since they remain the only plan for resolving the Ukrainian conflict.

Moreover, he pointed out that in order to fulfill the agreements, Kiev has to go its part of the way.

In this situation, on the eve of the meeting of political advisers to the leaders of the Normandy Four countries, something unexpected happened.

The draft law “On the State Policy of the Transitional Period”, submitted to the Verkhovna Rada in August last year, in which it was supposed to legally fix the definition of “aggressor state” for Russia, as well as to invalidate any documents issued in the DPR and LPR, including Russian passports, was suddenly withdrawn.

Recall that the Russian side reacted extremely harshly to this scandalous document, immediately making it clear that its adoption would make it legally impossible to implement the Minsk agreements and would be tantamount to Kiev withdrawing from them.

And on the eve of the meeting of the Normandy Four in Paris, Kiev reversed.

Having stepped on the throat of his own song, Andriy Yermak, the head of President Zelensky’s office, representing Ukraine in the Normandy Four, who until recently trumpeted that the Minsk agreements in their current form are unfeasible and require revision, spoke differently.

Two days before the meeting in Paris on ICTV, Yermak, having changed his shoes in the air, called the Minsk agreements “the only platform on which you can work today.”

Of course, the fact that the Minsk agreements, which were nearing death, could not be finalized, does not mean at all that the bottom point has been passed and they will one day be fulfilled.

Today, however, the negotiation process within the Normandy format acquires a new additional meaning, which it did not have eight years ago.

In the context of a catastrophic lack of tools to de-escalate the Ukrainian conflict, the question of whether there will be a new war by the end of January finally became the main one not only for politicians, diplomats and experts from the West and East, but also for ordinary citizens inexperienced in international relations living on both sides of the Russian -Ukrainian border.

In this situation, work on the implementation of the Minsk agreements, albeit at a snail's pace, reduces the risk of armed conflict.

That is, it turns out that today is the time to say: “Minsk is for the world.”

The point of view of the author may not coincide with the position of the editors.

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