The Ukrainian Parliament approved on 17 March a law on the “special status” for the Donbass, as it did in Minsk II [56] Later, in 2019, the Ukrainian Parliament voted on Thursday to extend the rules providing for limited autonomy to separatist-controlled eastern regions, a precondition for an agreement to settle the five-year conflict. [57] The law was immediately criticized by Ukrainian politicians, separatist leaders and the Russian government. The president of the Radical Party, Oleg Lyaschko, said that the law was “a vote in favour of the de facto recognition of the Russian occupation in the Donbass”. Parliament`s Deputy Speaker Andriy Paroubiy said the law was “not for Putin or for the occupiers” but to show Europe that Ukraine was ready to stick to Minsk II. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the law was a “severe deviation from the Minsk agreements.” [56] Representatives of LPR and DPR stated that the law was a “unilateral” amendment to Minsk II and that the amendment invalidated the agreement. [58] DPR Chief Alexander Zakharchenko stated that any changes to Minsk II, which had not been agreed in a consensus, were “legally null and void” and that “nothing that had been agreed in Minsk was done”. He added that the DPR must “occupy all the cities where the referendum took place, and then cooperate politically [with Ukraine] as equal partners.” [59] Nevertheless, representatives of the DPR and LPR continued to forward peace proposals to the trilateral contact group for Ukraine. [60] Ukrainian Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak said on 8 June 2015 that more than 100 soldiers and at least 50 civilians had been killed since Minsk II came into force. He said pro-Russian forces had violated the ceasefire more than 4,000 times. [61] Contrary to the agreement, DPR representative Denis Pustilin and LPR representative Wladislaw Deinego declared on 10 June 2015 that their republics “wanted to join the Russian Federation”. They also said they consider Crimea, annexed by Russia in March 2014, to be part of Russia. [62] But how could the conflict escalate? A victory for pro-Russian rebels in the 2019 Ukrainian elections could lead to this result, as well as a rapid growth of the far right and violent resistance in Minsk if Russia ever creates conditions in the Donbass that force Ukraine to implement the agreements. In both cases, radicals could be encouraged at both extremes, which could lead to protests or further violence outside the conflict zone, which Russian propaganda could use to continue to denigrate Ukraine as illiberal and ungovernable.

In addition to the fact that it is likely that the conflict will continue to freeze. In a sign of the decline in the credibility of the agreements, one of the original authors withdraws from his performance. Much of what ultimately emerged from the Minsk agreements came from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko`s June 2014 peace plan, on which he campaigned and won elections, at a time when peace was still popular and was not yet seen as an additional instrument for Moscow to destabilize Kiev.