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Trilateral Contact Group will meet to discuss Donbas tensions


Trilateral Contact Group will meet to discuss Donbas tensions

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The Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), consisting of Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE, will convene in Minsk today to discuss the Donbas conflict.

With this week’s uptick in ceasefire violations, Ukraine hopes that the new OSCE special representative, Mikko Kinnunen, will tackle the format’s procedural issues, criticizing the TCG’s lack of constructive engagement towards implementing the Minsk Agreements. The TCG’s working groups will also be following up on last month’s deliberation concerning prisoner exchanges, humanitarian relief and military de-escalation.

With a new OSCE special representative spearheading the TCG’s mediation efforts, expect a reorganization of the format’s procedures, to prioritize a durable ceasefire to implement the working groups’ objectives. Thus, in the short-term, expect some renewed compliance towards the July 2020 ceasefire provisions as the format’s order of agenda items will likely be modified to facilitate a compromise. However, in the medium-term, anticipate a resumption of ceasefire violations in the likely event that Moscow renews its accusations against Ukraine of ignoring ceasefire commitments, ensuring that the conflict’s status quo remains.

In the long-term, expect Moscow to work towards either maintaining a frozen conflict or achieving autonomy for Donetsk and Luhansk, hindering any prospect of Ukrainian accession into NATO, while maintaining political pressure on Ukraine.

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