When the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and France meet in Paris today to discuss the Minsk ceasefire, they may as well be attending a funeral.
Because if the Minsk agreement is not dead, it is -- at the very least -- clearly on life support.
And this was all very predictable from the very start. Minsk, in many ways, was a legal fiction.
It was signed under duress amid fears that Russia would mount a full-scale invasion of Donbas.
It pretended that Moscow was a mediator in a conflict in which Moscow was the aggressor.
And it made unreasonable demands on Ukraine to overhaul its domestic political arrangements with a Kalashnikov pointed at its head.
This wasn't a ceasefire. It was blackmail. It was extortion.
Ukraine signed the Minsk agreement in good faith, hoping it would stop the killing in Donbas, even though the authorities in Kyiv knew it was a very bad deal for them.
Russia, on the other hand, viewed Minsk as a tool to pursue their war in Ukraine by other means, under the cover of an alleged ceasefire.
The authorities in Kyiv have made honest efforts to fulfil their obligations under Minsk.
But in a democracy, passing constitutional amendments and laws providing for elections in a warzone has -- not surprisingly -- proven to be politically challenging.
Russia hasn't even tried to fulfil its end of the bargain.
The Kremlin and its proxies in Donbas have violated the ceasefire practically from day one, starting with the siege of Debaltseve and continuing to this day.
So a year and three weeks after it was signed, Minsk is all but dead in the water.
And we should have no illusions about why this is the case.
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