Open main menu

Map of the buffer zone established by the Minsk Protocol follow-up memorandum

The Protocol on the results of consultations of the Trilateral Contact Group, or simply Minsk Protocol, is an agreement to halt the war in the Donbass region of Ukraine, signed by representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), and the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) on 5 September 2014.[1][2][3] It was signed after extensive talks in Minsk, Belarus, under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The agreement, which followed multiple previous attempts to stop the fighting in the Donbass, implemented an immediate ceasefire. It failed to stop fighting in Donbass.[4]


Minsk process and draftingEdit

The agreement was drawn-up by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine, which consisted of representatives from Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE.[5] The group was established in June as a way to facilitate dialogue and resolution of the strife across eastern and southern Ukraine. Meetings of the group, along with informal representatives of the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, took place on 31 July, 26 August, 1 September, and 5 September. The details of the agreement, signed on 5 September, largely resembled Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko's 20 June "fifteen-point peace plan". The following representatives signed the document:[6]


The text of the protocol consists of twelve points:[6]

  1. To ensure an immediate bilateral ceasefire.
  2. To ensure the monitoring and verification of the ceasefire by the OSCE .
  3. Decentralisation of power, including through the adoption of the Ukrainian law "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts".
  4. To ensure the permanent monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian border and verification by the OSCE with the creation of security zones in the border regions of Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
  5. Immediate release of all hostages and illegally detained persons.
  6. A law preventing the prosecution and punishment of persons in connection with the events that have taken place in some areas of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
  7. To continue the inclusive national dialogue.
  8. To take measures to improve the humanitarian situation in Donbass.
  9. To ensure early local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian law "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts".
  10. To withdraw illegal armed groups and military equipment as well as fighters and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine.
  11. To adopt a programme of economic recovery and reconstruction for the Donbass region.
  12. To provide personal security for participants in the consultations.

Follow-up memorandumEdit

In the two weeks after the Minsk Protocol was signed, there were frequent violations of the ceasefire by both parties to the conflict.[7][8] Talks continued in Minsk, and a follow-up to the Minsk Protocol was agreed to on 19 September 2014. This memorandum clarified the implementation of the Protocol. Amongst some of the peacemaking measures agreed to were:[7][9][10]

  • To pull heavy weaponry 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) back on each side of the line of contact, creating a 30-kilometre (19 mi) buffer zone
  • To ban offensive operations
  • To ban flights by combat aircraft over the security zone
  • To withdraw all foreign mercenaries from the conflict zone
  • To set up an OSCE mission to monitor implementation of Minsk Protocol


After the follow-up memorandum, the Second Battle of Donetsk Airport broke out, and both parties continued to accuse each other of ceasefire violations.[4] In late October, DPR prime minister and Minsk Protocol signatory Alexander Zakharchenko said that his forces would retake the territory it had lost to Ukrainian forces during a July 2014 offensive, and that DPR forces would be willing to wage "heavy battles" to do so.[4][11] Subsequently, Zakharchenko said that he had been misquoted, and that he had meant to say that these areas would be taken through "peaceful means".[12] While campaigning in the lead-up to the 2 November elections held by the DPR and LPR in violation of the Protocol, Zakharchenko said "These are historical times. We are creating a new country! It's an insane goal".[13] OSCE chairman Didier Burkhalter confirmed that the elections ran "counter to the letter and spirit of the Minsk Protocol", and said that they would "further complicate its implementation".[14]

Speaking on 5 December, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said that the 2 November DPR and LPR elections were "exactly within the range in which they had been negotiated in Minsk", and that the Ukrainian parliament was supposed to pass an amnesty bill for DPR and LPR leaders after the Ukrainian parliamentary election in late October.[15] According to Lavrov, closer monitoring of the Russo-Ukrainian border, as specified by the Minsk Protocol, could only take place after such an amnesty law was approved.[15] He noted that he thought that a Ukrainian presidential decree banning prosecution of Donbass separatist combatants was issued on 16 September, but said that "a bill has now been filed proposing to overturn" the decree.[15]


By January 2015, the Minsk Protocol ceasefire had completely collapsed.[16] Following the separatist victory at Donetsk International Airport in defiance of the Protocol, DPR spokesman Eduard Basurin said that "the Minsk Memorandum will not be considered in the form it was adopted".[17] Later in the day, DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko said that the DPR "will not make any attempts at ceasefire talks any more", and that his forces were going to "attack right up to the borders of Donetsk region".[18] The New York Times said that the ceasefire had "all but vanished".[19]

Amidst increasing violence in the combat zone, another round of Minsk talks was scheduled for 31 January.[20] Members of the Trilateral Contact Group travelled to Minsk to meet representatives of the DPR and LPR. The DPR and LPR signatories of the Protocol did not attend, and those representatives that did attend were not able to discuss the implementation of the Protocol or memorandum. These representatives asked for the revision of the Protocol and the memorandum. The meeting was adjourned with no result.[20]

A new package of measures meant to stop fighting in the Donbass, called "Minsk II", was agreed to on 12 February 2015.[21]

See alsoEdit

  • OSCE Minsk Group, another OSCE Minsk Group involved in Armenia–Azerbaijan conflict


  1. ^ "Ukraine ceasefire agreement signed in Minsk". CCTV America. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Chairperson-in-Office welcomes Minsk agreement, assures President Poroshenko of OSCE support" (Press release). Bern: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  3. ^ "OSCE Chief Monitor in Ukraine urges all sides to allow monitors to carry out duties safely" (Press release). Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Ukraine rebels vow to take back cities Archived 23 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Sky News Australia (23 October 2014)
  5. ^ "Press statement by the Trilateral Contact Group" (Press release). Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 2 September 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Minsk Protocol" (Press release) (in Russian). Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Ukraine deal with pro-Russian rebels at Minsk talks". BBC News. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Ukrainian peace talks lead to buffer zone deal". CBC News. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Nato top general says truce 'in name only'". BBC News. 20 September 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  10. ^ "Memorandum of 19 September 2014 outlining the parameters for the implementation of commitments of the Minsk Protocol" (Press release) (in Russian). Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  11. ^ Poroshenko vows Kyiv will recapture militants-controlled areas, Interfax-Ukraine (23 October 2014)
  12. ^ "Ukraine vote could push the country into chaos". BBC News. 24 October 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  13. ^ Donetsk People’s Republic campaign reveals shambolic tendencies, Financial Times (23 October 2014)
  14. ^ "So-called elections not in line with Minsk Protocol, says OSCE Chair, calling for enhanced efforts and dialogue to implement all commitments" (Press release). Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 31 October 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  15. ^ a b c Too early to discuss broader monitoring of Ukraine-Russia border - Lavrov, Interfax-Ukraine (5 December 2014)
  16. ^ "Ukraine forces admit loss of Donetsk airport to rebels". The Guardian. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  17. ^ "Ukraine suffers considerable losses – DPR Defense Ministry". Tass Russian News Agency. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  18. ^ "Ukraine rebel Zakharchenko 'rejects truce talks'". BBC News. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  19. ^ "War Is Exploding Anew in Ukraine; Rebels Vow More". The New York Times. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  20. ^ a b "Statement by the Chairmanship on the Trilateral Contact Group consultations in Minsk on 31 January 2015" (Press release). Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  21. ^ "Ukraine crisis: Leaders agree peace roadmap". BBC News. 12 February 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015.

External linksEdit