After the Ukraine Summit in Paris: What, if anything, was achieved?

Update and Analysis


(1) Stefan Braun (Berlin) und Christian Wernicke (Paris), “Ukraine-Gipfel in Paris: Hollande und Merkel ringen mit Putin; Bundeskanzlerin Merkel und Frankreichs Staatspräsident Hollande treffen sich in Paris mit den Präsidenten Russlands und der Ukraine, um über den Ukraine-Konflikt zu sprechen; Stattdessen geht es hauptsächlich um Syrien; Putin hat mit der militärischen Intervention Fakten geschaffen; Kritik an russischen Luftschlägen will er nicht gelten lassen; Trotz schwieriger Gespräche werten deutsche und französische Diplomaten einzelne Ergebnisse als kleine Fortschritte,” Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2. Oktober 2015 (23:14 Uhr).

(2) “Separatisten beginnen mit Abrüstung in Ostukraine; Es kommt Bewegung in die Friedensbemühungen in der Ostukraine: Kurz nach dem Gipfel in Paris haben die Separatisten mit der Abrüstung begonnen. Ein Punkt für den Frieden ist aber noch nicht erfüllt,” Die Welt, 3. Oktober 2015.

(3) Pilar Bonet, “El cese de la violencia no aplaca el conflicto en el Este de Ucrania; Los acuerdos de Minsk, el marco de solución política y militar, no podrán cumplirse para fines de año, como estaba previsto,” El País, 2 de octubre 2015 (21:22 CEST).

(4) Benoît Vitkine, “Ukraine: le sommet de Paris acte le report de l’application des accords de Minsk,” Le Monde, 2 Octobre 2015 (à 22h17 • Mis à jour le 03.10.2015 à 13h10).

(5) “Ukraine summit on October 2 with Putin in Paris: Remember who you are talking to,” The Trenchant Observer, October 1, 2015.

(6) Benoît Vitkine, “Un sommet sur l’Ukraine à Paris dans l’ombre de la Syrie, Le Monde, le 1 Octobre 2015 (à 10h53 – Mis à jour le 01.10.2015 à 16h16).

The Ukraine Summit in Paris on October 2, 2015 seems to have achieved little in formal terms, but may have given impetus to implementation of the ceasefire and withdrawal of weapons provisions of the Minsk II Agreement.

The main results were that the deadline of December 31, 2015 for the withdrawal of Russian and foreign troops and restoration of the control of the border between Russia and the Donbas region in the eastern Ukraine was pushed back indefinitely, in effect giving Putin tacit approval to continue his ongoing invasion of the eastern Ukraine with Russian troops, irregulars, and modern weapons systems. In exchange, Putin said he would “talk to”the separatists” who have scheduled their own elections on October 18 and November 1 in the areas of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces which they control, in violation of the Minsk II agreement. The idea is that the “separatists” and Kiev will now, for the first time, enter into constructive negotiations for the holding of the elections under Ukrainian law.

Nonetheless, Pilar Bonet of El País underlines the extent to which the leaders of the so-called “separatists” are puppets under the complete control of Vladimir Putin and Russia, who pay their salaries.

Die Welt in its dispatch of today reports that the separatists are withdrawing their weapons.

The end result is that Vladimir Putin remains in complete control of whether “progress” in implementing the Minsk II agreement is made. It all depends on the cooperation of the leaders of the “separatists”, puppets whose every movement he controls.

François Hollande, Angela Merkel, and other leaders in the West continue to play along with this charade, in which the “separatists” agree or don’t agree to cooperate with Kiev in implementing the agreement.

Under Article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter and international law, of course, Russia is under a binding obligation to withdraw its invading troops from the Donbas immediately. This is a norm of jus cogens or peremptory international law, from which there can be no derogation by agreement.

Putin has all the cards, and has just gotten out from under a formal commitment to withdraw Russian and other irregular forces from the eastern Ukraine by the end of 2015.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.