Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
12 February, 8 PM Kyiv time
1. Minsk Agreement on ceasefire signed
Representatives of Ukraine (former President L. Kuchma), Russia (Ambassador Zurabov), OSCE (Ambassador H Tagliavini), and “representatives” of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “Peoples’ Republics” Zakharchenko and Plotnitsky (whosesignatures appear in the document without title or who they represent, and the “Peoples’ Republics” are unrecognized by any of the other signatories). The document states, among other provisions, that: Ceasefire to being at midnight, 15 February; Withdrawal of heavy weapons (to be monitored by OSCE); Local elections in accordance with Ukrainian Law “On temporary order of local self-governance in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts” (passed by Ukraine’s parliament after first Minsk agreement in September); OSCE monitoring of these elections; Amnesty for those who “took part in events in particular areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts”; Release and exchange of all hostages and prisoners using “all-for-all” principle; Pull-out of all foreign armed formations, mercenaries; disarmament of all illegal groups; Constitutional reform to take effect by end of 2015 – on decentralization. An unofficial translation of the agreement into English is available at http://www.unian.info/
2. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours Kremlin-backed terrorists shelled Debaltseve 14 times with Grads (truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers) and artillery, and shelled the base camp of Ukrainian forces near the city over 20 times. Attacks by Kremlin-backed terrorists near Debaltseve were repelled by Ukrainian forces. The RNBO reported that in the last 24 hours, 2 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 21 were wounded. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported at 12:45 Kyiv time that battles at Lohvinovo (near Debaltseve) continue. The Artemivsk-Debalsteve road is under control of Ukrainian forces.
3. Russia pours in tanks and heavy weapons into Ukraine during Minsk talks
The RNBO reported that on the night of 11-12 February, at the border crossing near Izvaryne, 50 tanks, forty rocket systems (Grads, Uragans, Smerch) and 40 armored personnel carriers crossed into Ukraine from the Russian Federation.
4. Leaders of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia endorse ceasefire agreement
In a joint statement following negotiations in Minsk, Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko, German Chancellor A. Merkel, French President F. Hollande and Russian President V. Putin stated that they “reaffirm their full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. They firmly believe that there is no alternative to an exclusively peaceful settlement. They are fully committed to undertake all possible individual and joint measures to this end. Against this background, leaders endorse the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements adopted and signed on February 12, 2015 by all signatories who also signed Minsk Protocol of September 5, 2014 and Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014. Leaders will contribute to this process and will use their influence on relevant parties to facilitate the implementation of that Package of Measures.” It was not made clear how Russia’s invasion and occupation of Crimea and invasion of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts is reconciled with Putin’s “full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.” .
5. Ukrainian President: There have been no compromises regarding federalization
After all-night talks in Minsk with Russian President V. Putin, German Chancellor A. Merkel, and French President F. Hollande, Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko stated, “Expanding the authority of the regions of Ukraine will take place exclusively within the framework of constitutional changes regarding decentralization – we have made no compromises regarding federalization.” Poroshenko also stated that social payments will be renewed on the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts after the “stabilization of the situation and the restoration of the state sovereignty of Ukraine.”
6. Ukraine and IMF reach agreement on Extended Fund Facility
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that they have reached a staff-level agreement with the Ukrainian government on an economic reform program supported by a four-year Extended Fund Facility of $17.5 billion. IMF Managing Director C. Lagarde stated that she intends to recommend this program to the IMF Executive Board. “These IMF resources will be complemented by other bilateral and multilateral financing. In addition, as the Ukrainian government has previously announced, it intends to hold consultations with the holders of their sovereign debt with a view to improving medium-term sustainability. From these various sources taken together, a total financing package of around $40 billion is estimated over the four year period,” Lagarde stated.
7. US Secretary of State on the Ceasefire Agreement
US Secretary of State J. Kerry stated “The United States welcomes the news that the OSCE-led Trilateral Contact Group, supported by Chancellor Merkel and Presidents Hollande, Poroshenko, and Putin, reached agreement on a ceasefire and heavy weapons withdrawal in eastern Ukraine, and on the implementation of the September Minsk agreements. […] All the parties must show complete restraint in the run-up to the Sunday ceasefire, including an immediate halt to the Russian and separatist assault on Debaltseve and other Ukrainian towns. The parties have a long road ahead before achieving peace and the full restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty. The United States stands ready to assist in coordination with our European Allies and partners. We will judge the commitment of Russia and the separatists by their actions, not their words. As we have long said, the United States is prepared to consider rolling back sanctions on Russia when the Minsk agreements of September 2014, and now this agreement, are fully implemented. That includes a full ceasefire, the withdrawal of all foreign troops and equipment from Ukraine, the full restoration of Ukrainian control of the international border, and the release of all hostages.”