Russia – Ukraine: Another Treaty Another Battle by Phillip Dennis
IndraStra Global

Russia – Ukraine: Another Treaty Another Battle by Phillip Dennis

An Ukrainian protesting in Kiev
Researched and Written by; 
Phillip Dennis BA (Hons) LCGI
This article aims to provide an insight into the complexities associated with formulating a cease-fire agreement between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine. The historical context of this long running dispute displays a legacy of agreement and resolution which, never appear to materialize into an implemented peaceful settlement. It outlines some of the previous agreements and highlights their documentation.
After the Minsk agreement of February 2015, one thing remains constant between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine: the fighting. Attempts to formulate an agreement and resolve the issues between the two nations has once again failed to materialize as mechanism to cease-fire and end the conflict. Marathon talks between the leaders in Minsk, (Vladimir Putin, Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel, Petro Poroshenko) led us all to believe a deal had been reached. However, there are those who argue against Vladimir Putin: stating a claim that he had no intention to adhere to any agreement. Russia, however, have since been engaged in negotiation with the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to push forward the New Minsk agreement, a decision which was voted for unanimously last week. UN leaders will now meet with the Ukrainian Foreign minister Pavel Klimkin and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday 23rd February, as the cease-fire has not fully materialized. (Source UN: United Nations 17th February 2015)
What hope do we hold of an agreement being reached between the two Nations when there has already been a catalogue of previous attempts to resolve the problem, and a number of resolutions that have been agreed yet broken? In 1991 the Minsk agreement acknowledged that the USSR had registered to no longer exist and signatures were registered to that effect. (APPENDIX B -- Belarus and Moldova THE MINSK AGREEMENT. Signed by the heads of state of Belarus, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine on December 8, 1991)
Since then a number of resolutions and treaties have been agreed between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine in an effort to ensure that their difference be settled in a peaceful manner. - All of which required them to cease-fire and settle peacefully as they have agreed by signatory to the terms and conditions of Article 2, and 102 of international legislation. For Example;
  • Resolution A/68/L.39 “Integrity of the Ukraine Territory. 24 March 2014 Agenda item 33 (b) Prevention of armed conflict: strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine: draft resolution Territorial integrity of Ukraine.
  • Treaty No. 42950 - Ukraine and Russian Federation: - Agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on further development of interstate legal relations. Dagomys, 23 June 1992 Entry into force: 23 June 1992 by signature, in accordance with its provisions - Registration with the Secretariat of the United Nations: Ukraine, 7 August 2006. Signed by all parties for Russia and Ukraine to adhere to UN 102 and settle peacefully. 2006
  • A/68/L.39, - Treaty of friendship Cooperation and peaceful settlement 1997
  • The Alma Ata agreement 21/12/ 1991
  • A/68/L.39 - S/26075. - S/26109 1993 Sevastopol – ( Ref Kiev Agreement)
“In an earlier letter dated 13 July 1993 addressed to the President of the Security Council, the representative of Ukraine had transmitted to the Council the text of a statement issued on 9 July 1993 by the President of Ukraine on the decision of the Supreme Soviet (Parliament) of the Russian Federation, by which the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol was proclaimed as belonging to the Russian Federation. The President of Ukraine contended that the decision represented an open interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine, and an infringement of its territorial integrity and the inviolability of its borders. Moreover, it violated the international obligations resulting from the membership of the Russian Federation in the United Nations, its participation in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and bilateral Ukrainian-Russian agreements, and cooperation signed at Kiev, on 19 November 1990, which had been ratified by the Russian Parliament and registered with the United Nations Secretariat. By a letter dated 19 July 1993 addressed to the President of the Security Council, the representative of the Russian Federation transmitted the text of a statement, issued on 11 July by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in connection with the resolution of the Russian Supreme Council regarding the status of the city of Sevastopol. The statement contended that the resolution departed from the policy followed by the President and the Government of the Russian Federation in upholding Russian interests as regards matters relating to the Black Sea fleet and in maintaining bases for the navy of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, in the Crimea and in Sevastopol. It also emphasized that territorial problems could be settled only through political dialogue, taking into consideration the opinions and interests of the various population groups. Any settlement should also strictly observe all treaties and agreements entered into with the Ukrainian side, as well as the principles of CSCE and the United Nations. At its 3256th meeting, on 20 July 1993, the Security Council included in its agenda an item entitled “Complaint by Ukraine regarding the Decree of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation concerning S/26075. & S/26109 Sevastopol” and the letters mentioned above…….
S/26075. & S/26109.
After the adoption of the agenda, the Council invited the representative of Ukraine, at his request, to participate in the discussion without the right to vote. The President (United Kingdom) then drew the attention of the members of the Council to two letters dated 13 and 19 July 1993, respectively, from the representatives of Ukraine and the Russian Federation, addressed to the President of the Security Council. The representative of Ukraine contended that the “irresponsible” decision by the Russian Parliament could only be described as a “flagrant flouting” of the fundamental principles and norms of international law, in particular Article 2 (4) of the Charter of the United Nations. It constituted a clear encroachment on Ukraine’s territorial inviolability, a revision of existing boundaries, interference in its internal affairs and was, in both spirit and letter, incompatible with the purposes and principles of the United Nations. The decision was also a flagrant violation of the international commitments flowing from the Russian Federation’s membership in the United Nations, its participation in CSCE, and the Kiev Treaty. The decree was, in essence, a “time bomb” which should not be understated. He warned that, if the Russian authorities attempted to implement it, Ukraine might be forced to take “appropriate actions” to defend its sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability, which could have unforeseeable consequences and seriously threaten the maintenance of international peace and security. Invoking Article 34 of the Charter, the speaker called on the Council to use its full authority to condemn the decree and declare it invalid, and to warn against further steps that might threaten peace and international security. The lack of such a response, he said, could undermine confidence in the Council’s authority. The Council had to carry out an act of preventive diplomacy and prevent an escalation of illegal actions. The representative of the Russian Federation emphasized that the decree adopted on 9 July 1993 by the Supreme Soviet concerning the status of Sevastopol diverged from the policy of the President and the Government of the Russian Federation. He contended that his country remained dedicated to the principle of the inviolability of the borders within the Commonwealth of Independent States and would strictly abide by its obligations under international law. “(Source United Nations Documents Database 2015)
In essence; Resolutions and treaties which are agreed and signed between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine are being recklessly broken. The New Minsk agreement, has laid out a number of key points which are essential to the resolution of the situation. The key points to the agreement were laid out in a report by the BBC; (Ukraine ceasefire: New Minsk agreement key points BBC -18 February 2015) ;
  • Immediate and full bilateral ceasefire - To take effect in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, from 00:00 local time on 15 February (22:00 GMT on 14 February).
  • Withdrawal of all heavy weapons by both sides - To equal distances to create a buffer zone of: at least 50km (30 miles separating both sides for artillery systems of 100mm calibre or more; 70km for multiple rocket systems and 140km for the heaviest rocket and missile systems such as Tornado, Uragan, Smerch and Tochka. Ukrainian troops to withdraw heavy weapons from the current frontline. Separatist forces to withdraw theirs from the line of 19 September 2014.Heavy weapons withdrawal must start no later than day two of the ceasefire and be completed within two weeks. The OSCE security body will assist in the process.
  • Effective monitoring and verification regime for the ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons. To be carried out by the OSCE from day one, using all necessary technology such as satellites and radar.
  • From day one of the withdrawal begin a dialogue on the holding of local elections In line with the Ukrainian law on temporary self-rule for parts of Donetsk and Luhansk. There will also be a dialogue on those areas' political future.
  • Pardon and amnesty by banning any prosecution of figures involved in the Donetsk and Luhansk conflict
  • Release of all hostages and other illegally detained people - On the basis of "all for all". To be completed at the latest on the fifth day after the military withdrawal.
  • Unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to the needy, internationally supervised Restoration of full social and economic links with affected areas - Including social transfers, such as payment of pensions. To that end, Ukraine will restore its banking services in districts affected by the conflict.
  • Full Ukrainian government control will be restored over the state border, throughout the conflict zone - To begin on the first day after local elections, and be completed after a comprehensive political settlement, by the end of 2015. (Local elections in rebel-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk regions will be based on Ukrainian law and a constitutional reform.)
  • Withdrawal of all foreign armed groups, weapons and mercenaries from Ukrainian territory - To be monitored by the OSCE. All illegal groups to be disarmed.
  • Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with adoption of a new constitution by the end of 2015 - A key element of which will be decentralization (taking account of the special features of certain parts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, agreed with representatives of those regions), and adoption of permanent laws on the special status of those areas.
(Source BBC Europe, Ukraine ceasefire: New Minsk agreement key points BBC -18 February 2015);
The United Nations Security Council has endorsed this so-called "package of measures" in an effort to resolve the conflict in Ukraine. However, Fighting has continued in the eastern part of Ukraine, despite a ceasefire agreed. The UNSC and the General Council have clearly laid out their Mandate objective regarding this matter, yet there is little evidence of the cease-fire agreement being enforced. AsDerrick Mbatha of the United Nation stated on Friday 27th Feb;
In its unanimously adopted resolution, the Security Council welcomed the declaration by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany adopted on 12 February in Minsk, Belarus.
The declaration contains what has been called a package of measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, including a ceasefire.
The agreements were signed by Russia, Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists in September last year to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Ambassador Jim Mclay of New Zealand said it was no secret that over the past four days the Security Council had struggled to negotiate a mutually acceptable text for the resolution.
He said that struggle was hardly surprising given the nature of the matter, the history of the conflict and the active support of troops and material that the separatists continue to receive.
Those problems should not, Mr. President, however, obscure the very simple truth that above all, our combined objective must be to see an end to the fighting in eastern Ukraine, a genuine and holding ceasefire with lives saved as a result, to see respect for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and to see an end to external support for the separatists.
The Security Council called on all parties in the conflict in Ukraine to fully implement the "Package of measures", including a comprehensive ceasefire as provided for in that package. (Derrick Mbatha, United Nations. Feb 2015)
Arguably the shortfall in adhering to this agreement from the outset is already reminiscent of a similar agreement signed by Boris Yeltsin and the then Ukrainian leader whereby they set out a treaty to adhere to international legislation and resolve issues of " Interstate Legal relation peacefully". The signing of this agreement at Dagomys, on 23 June 1992 coveted both nations under UN Article 2 and 102, which clearly states;
“Under Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations, every treaty and every international agreement entered into by any Member of the United Nations after the coming into force of the Charter shall, as soon as possible, be registered with the Secretariat and published by it. Furthermore, no party to a treaty or international agreement subject to registration which has not been registered may invoke that treaty or agreement before any organ of the United Nations. The General Assembly, by resolution 97 (I), established regulations to give effect to Article 102 of the Charter (see text of the regulations, vol. 859, p. VIII; and publication). The terms "treaty" and "international agreement" have not been defined either in the Charter or in the regulations, and the Secretariat follows the principle that it acts in accordance with the position of the Member State submitting an instrument for registration that, so far as that party is concerned, the instrument is a treaty or an international agreement within the meaning of Article 102. Registration of an instrument submitted by a Member State, therefore, does not imply a judgment by the Secretariat on the nature of the instrument, the status of a party or any similar question. It is the understanding of the Secretariat that its acceptance for registration of an instrument does not confer on the instrument the status of a treaty or an international agreement if it does not already have that status, and does not confer upon a party a status which it would not otherwise have."
Source: (United Nation Document Archive: Treaties)
The terms of the agreement signed, did at the time, incorporate Germany to play a key role in overseeing the withdrawal of troops from occupied regions in the conflict. The details of the signed Treaty 23 June 1992 are as follows;
Ukraine and the Russian Federation, intending to strengthen friendly and equal relations of partnership based on generally accepted standards of international law, Considering the contribution of the peoples of Ukraine and Russia to the development of democratic processes in both countries and their responsibility for their further deepening, Have agreed as follows:
  1. Parties shall establish their relations as friendly powers and shall urgently start working on the elaboration of a new full-scale political treaty, which would reflect a new quality of relations between them. Until such a treaty is concluded, the Parties shall steadily follow the provisions of the Treaty between the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic of 19 November 1990, and the subsequent agreements between Ukraine and Russia.
  2. Realizing the reality of the threat by revanchist antidemocratic forces, both of extreme left and of extreme right wing, the Parties claim their determination to take every necessary measure for defending the constitutional system, the rights and freedoms of citizens.
  3. Parties shall regulate mutual payment obligations as of 1 July 1992, and shall take coordinated steps concerning the reorganization of payment and account relations, including accounts between enterprises, taking into consideration the subsequent introduction into circulation of Ukrainian national currency.
  4. Parties shall carry out mutual settlements for goods and services taking into account prices of the international market. To pay off any indebtedness that might arise, Parties shall provide each other with long-term credits on easy payment terms.
  5. Parties shall create an intergovernmental bilateral commission on regulation of trade, economic and cooperation relations, including relations between enterprises of the defense complex, as well as a mixed expert group for studying and preparing proposals concerning resolution of questions about the order of retirement of bonds, emitted by the Government and central authorities of the former USSR.
  6. Parties shall make an effort to speed up the ratification of the Agreement on settlement of disputes concerning economic activities of 20 March 1992.
  7. Parties shall create a coordinated mechanism to serve the internal debt of the former USSR which was formed as a result of withdrawal of currency funds from enterprises and organizations by the Soviet Government.
  8. Translation supplied by the Government of Ukraine -- Traduction Fournier par le Government Ukrainian. Volume 2382, I-42950
  9. Parties affirm their adherence to the principle of openness of state borders between them. In this context, they shall define regulations of customs control and a non-visa regime for movement of citizens of both states. Parties shall cooperate in stopping contraband, illegal drugs and armaments trafficking and other illegal activities.
  10. Pointing out that there are currently no grounds for worries and mutual claims in the field of interstate relations between Ukraine and Russia, Parties shall nevertheless conclude corresponding agreements and take all other measures protecting interests of citizens of Ukrainian origin in Russia, and citizens of Russian origin in Ukraine.
  11. Parties shall cooperate in the field of preventing and settling of conflicts that can damage their security or seriously influence their interests in some other way.
  12. Parties confirm their adherence to existing agreements that define the status of Strategic Forces of the United Armed Forces of the CIS. They agreed to continue consultations in order to conclude agreements on fulfilment of their obligations according to the Treaty on the reduction and limiting of strategic offensive weapons of 31 July 1991, Lisbon Protocol of 23 May 1992 and earlier concluded agreements concerning strategic nuclear forces. Parties shall take measures to speed up ratification and entry into force of the Agreement on conventional armed forces in Europe of 19 November 1990. Parties shall cooperate with respect to execution of this international act.
  13. Parties shall continue negotiations concerning the use of funds provided by Germany for troop’s withdrawal.
  14. Parties agreed that part of property of the former USSR overseas shall be passed to Ukraine in the near future by allocation of certain buildings for accommodation and normal operation of diplomatic and consular representative offices. For this purpose, a joint commission of Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and the Russian Federation shall be created which shall present corresponding proposals to the Government of the Russian Federation.
  15. Due to the fact that the Parties have created their own Armed Forces, they affirmed the importance of continuing negotiations concerning the creation of Ukraine's Navy and Russia's Navy at the Black Sea on the basis of the Black Sea Fleet. They agreed to make use of the existing system of deployment and material logistics on a contractual basis. Before the negotiations terminate, the Parties shall abstain from unilateral actions.
  16. The military troops of Ukraine and Russia recruited for military service in the units of the CIS United Armed Forces shall swear an oath to the state of their citizenship.
  17. Parties shall continue working on the improvement of inter-parliamentary relations, intensify activity of the Ukrainian-Russian inter-parliamentary commission and interstate cooperation of permanent committees and commissions of the Parliaments in the field of legislation.
  18. In order to develop friendly, cooperative and partner relations between Ukraine and Russia, the Parties agreed to establish a tradition of regular interstate summits. The negotiations mechanism shall be created on basis of state delegations for elaboration of a full15Volume 2382, I-42950 scale political treaty for preparing such summits and coordinating actions on execution of decisions taken at these summits.
  19. This Agreement shall enter into force on the day of its signature. Done in the city of Dagomys, on 23 June 1992 in two copies, each in the Ukrainian and Russian languages, both texts being equally authentic.
The active members of this particular treaty and signatories are; YELTSIN President of Russia - KRAVCHUK President of Ukraine - KHASBULATOV Chairman of Parliament of Russia - CLYUSHCH Chairman of Parliament of Ukraine - YE. GAIDAR Acting President of Council of Ministers - Prime Minister of Russia -FOKIN
(Source: United Nations Document No. 42950. Ukraine and Russian Federation. UN Archive)
In conclusion, one can hope that a new set of leaders emerge within the Russian - Ukraine conflict. It is evident from the history of this conflict that there is little hope of any signed treaty or agreement being adhered to: even by those who engage in constructing them. The New Minsk agreement is an opportunity for President Putin and the Ukrainian leader to show the World that they are good for their word, and having formulated a package to Cease-fire they can overcome the hurdles of implementation.
Once again this new agreement has been supported by the United Nations Security Council. They have voted in favour of the package of measures to resolve the conflict and stop the fighting. There has been little encouragement from historical events to suggest any such cease-fire could be implemented as a long term solution. However, the priority must be to stop the fighting in Eastern Ukraine and respect the integrity of each nation respectively.
A lack of effective implementation on agreed process could lead to further geopolitical instability between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine. The new Minsk agreement 2015 is a golden opportunity. Should it not result in a cease-fire, it would merely transpire to be another occurrence of history repeating: and another future battle to formulate peace.
We live in hope of a peaceful settlement.
Note by the Author: Thank you to the United Nations, League of Nations Archive, and the US State dept. for allowing me to use their database and document facilities to conduct my research on this and other projects.