On September 5, 2014, after six months of fighting, the powers in Europe drew up the Minsk Agreement with Russia to end fighting in the Ukraine. The plan had 12 points primarily centered around stopping the fighting, with some ink devoted to a special status for Donetsk and Luhansk within Ukraine and some economic investment to spur the republics economies. Looking back on the Minsk Agreement now, well, it seems pretty hollow.
Depending on which casualty reports you want to believe, there have been between 5-15,000 people killed in the conflict and ten times that wounded or maimed. A majority of those are civilians. The majority of those civilians killed and wounded were at the hands of Ukraine army artillery - multiple rocket artillery (GRAD) to be exact. In fact the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk have suffered indiscriminate shelling for close to a year now. Before that it was Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Artemivsk, Gorlovka and so on. It wasn't until fairly recently that the separatist forces (NAF) got a hold of GRAD systems in any significant numbers. Now they are pounding cities too around the Debaltsevo pocket east of Gorlovka.
In short, far too much blood has been spilled too subject the people of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics to the authority of Ukraine. That time has come and gone, and any agreement that even hints at that will be worth less than the paper it's written on.
The practical implications of allowing Ukraine to rule the two republics again speak for themselves. The Ukraine army has destroyed vast areas of the republics with primarily artillery. Bridges have been blown, water and sewer plants destroyed, electrical grids damaged, hospitals and schools destroyed, and so on. The bill to replace this mass of infrastructure alone is in the tens of billions. Ukraine doesn't have the money to fix what it has ruined. As we speak it is weeks away from a possible default, but even if that doesn't happen, the Ukraine financial position is at best Greek-like. In fact, in the last year Ukraine's currency has lost about 65% of its value. There is no up side here. So how could Ukraine rule Donetsk and Luhansk again in any case? They would be left in abstract poverty and decline for decades at least.
Many nations are formed in blood - actually most. Donetsk and Luhansk are no different, albeit they remain pawns in a larger game of geo-politics - each side spurring on their choice in one way or another. How can the woman whose man has been killed in battle by the Ukraine army live under its flag? How can the man in the NAF maimed by war do the same? How about the civilians with now tortured minds from being under shelling far too long, or seeing far too much death and destruction, ever stand and sing the Ukraine national anthem. These are not matters of geo-politics. These are matters of humanity.
As the leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia gather in Minsk to ink the latest deal on Donetsk and Luhansk they need to realize the people of Donetsk and Luhansk cannot be forcefully or diplomatically reunified with Ukraine. If that is to happen in any way it must be by the will of the people of the two republics, and that can only happen by referendum - UN supervised referendum. Demarcations lines from this town or that town are also meaningless. They do nothing but "freeze" the conflict. The only real and meaningful lines that matter are the boundaries of the republics. Those should be respected, and those must be the only demarcation lines implemented.
The Ukraine government may not like it, but it gave up the right to deal with a free hand in Donetsk and Luhansk when it turned the guns of war on what was essentially a separatist revolt. Live by the sword, die by the sword. The water has been poisoned. The dye is cast. Minsk is dead. Minsk 2.0 must reflect reality and NOT the whims of fanciful politicians smitten with the idea of territorial integrity.
Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)