The Minsk Agreements
. None of the leaders themselves signed the agreements, but left it to other representatives of the European ceasefire antagonists and observers and sent a discreet signal that they did not take full responsibility for the outcome. [Chancellor Angela] Merkel said Putin must pressure rebel leaders to sign. Russia was not finished. Surkov coordinated the preparation of additional requests (published on 13 May in the form of proposals from the DNR/LNR). These would give even greater powers to the occupied territories: responsibility for regulating the Russian-Ukrainian border; The right to enter into agreements with foreign States; their own charters (which would prevent, for example, the Ukrainian president from dismissing local executives); their own budgets to ensure “financial autonomy”; and the right to establish states of emergency and to hold elections and referendums. If this does not change by the summer, the European Union would be ill-advised to lift or ease its economic sanctions against Russia. Such a move would not only damage the Union`s political credibility, but would also encourage Russia to expand its influence in the post-Soviet region and continue its attempts to divide the EU. But how could the conflict escalate? The victory of pro-Russian revanchists in the 2019 Ukrainian elections could lead to this result, as could the rapid growth of the far right and violent resistance in Minsk if Russia ever creates the conditions in Donbass that force Ukraine to implement the agreements. In both cases, radicals of both extremes could be encouraged, which could provoke protests or new violence outside the conflict zone, which would allow Russian propaganda to further defame Ukraine as illiberal and ungovernable.
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