Joint Declaration by the Foreign Ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany 02.07.2014

The Foreign Ministers of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine strongly reconfirm their commitment to sustainable peace and stability in Ukraine. In this context they stress the necessity of a sustainable ceasefire, to be agreed upon swiftly and to be observed by all concerned, thus putting an end to violence in Eastern Ukraine.

Ministers urge that the Contact Group should resume no later than July 5th with the goal of reaching an unconditional and mutually agreed sustainable cease-fire. This cease-fire should be monitored by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine in conformity with its mandate. In that respect, Ministers agree to take all necessary measures and use their influence on the concerned parties with a view to achieving this goal. Ministers stress the importance of a swift release of all hostages.

Ministers welcome Russia’s readiness to grant Ukrainian border guards access to Russian territory in order to participate in the control of border crossings at the checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk while the mutually agreed cease-fire is in place. This shall be done in close collaboration between Russian and Ukrainian border authorities and pending the return of the Ukrainian checkpoints Izvarino and Krasnopartizansk to Ukrainian government control.

Ministers invite the OSCE to take all necessary steps to deploy OSCE-observers in response to the Russian invitation at the Russian checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk while the mutually agreed cease-fire is in place. All sides must contribute to a secure environment.

Ministers stress that this would contribute to an effective control of the Russian-Ukrainian border and called for regular and expeditious exchange of relevant information between Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE.

Ministers emphasize the need to ensure safety and security of journalists working in the area of violence. 

Commentary: potentially, this could be huge.  Of course, considering that the Ukie side has, so far, violated every single agreement it signed, this could also be just one more irrelevant document.  But, if the junta came to the realization that its offensive against Novorussia is going absolutely nowhere from a military point of view and that its only result is to worsen the junta’s image in the general public opinion (it was, after all, the junta which resumed hostilities), then this might indicate that Kiev is slowly coming to realize that its plan to either defeat the resistance or draw Russia in is failing.   But even if the junta will immediately renege on this agreement, it sets a crucial precedent: Kiev has now officially accepted that a ceasefire will not be contingent upon the disarmament of the Novorussian forces.   Of course, such a disarmament was never possible anyway, but what is important is that the junta is coming to the realization that it will have to accept this fact.

Again, it is way way waaaaay to early to rejoice, this all is far from over, but, combined with the obvious lack of any military progress of the junta’s death squads in Novorussia, this is yet another solid reason to hope.  As Juan always says, this will get worse before it gets better, but there are increasing signs that the junta is coming to the realization that the US imposed strategy has very little, if any, chance to work.  Good.

The Saker

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