These five points prove that Ukraine definitely wouldn’t “collapse” if the Minsk Accords were fully implemented but it might end up with a very different administrative structure in the most extreme scenario.
Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council chief Alexey Danilov warned on Monday that his country risks collapsing if it implements the UNSC-supported Minsk Accords. He claimed that “it will be very dangerous for our country” because “if society doesn’t accept those agreements, it could lead to a very difficult internal situation and Russia counts on that.” This position doesn’t reflect reality but the existing Ukrainian elite’s self-interests and those of its foreign patrons.
For starters, the UNSC’s passing of a relevant resolution in support of the Minsk Accords officially enshrined them in international law by virtue of that body’s authority per the UN Charter. Ukraine is therefore legally obligated to implement them though the US’ refusal to compel its proxy to do so in contradiction of that Great Power’s international commitments means that it probably won’t unless the American position eventually changes.
Second, the former Ukrainian government voluntarily agreed to the Minsk Accords and it didn’t do so under duress or “under the Russian gun barrel” as Danilov claimed. This false portrayal of events is debunked by the very fact that his country’s American patron itself supported these agreements at the UNSC. Washington wouldn’t have done so unless it believed at the time that this was a pragmatic means for resolving its proxy’s civil war.
Third, the incumbent Ukrainian government is extremely authoritarian and enforces its will upon the population through coercion, force, and threats. This objective observation discredits Danilov’s fears that society will meaningfully revolt over the Minsk Accords’ full implementation since Kiev certainly has the capabilities to offset that scenario. Even if it loses control, then that’s the government’s own fault and not Russia’s or anyone else’s.
Fourth, the existing Ukrainian elite actually seems more concerned that the Minsk Accords’ clause granting a degree of autonomy to Donbass will trigger a chain reaction of devolution in the country. If carried out to its full extent, this could lead to Ukraine’s de facto or de jure federalization, which in practice might end up creating a Bosnian-like scenario whereby various regions achieve quasi-independence. That might result in the emergence of new elites who can challenging the existing ones.
And fifth, those elites who might rise to power in their potentially quasi-independent statelets could come under the patronage of other foreign powers apart from Ukraine’s current US-led Western ones. For instance, Russia, China, Turkey, and even the GCC might begin patronizing local partners in pursuit of mutual economic and/or strategic benefits. There’s nothing wrong with that or inherently destabilizing about it per se but it nevertheless threatens the US-led West’s current influence over Ukraine.
These five points prove that Ukraine definitely wouldn’t “collapse” if the Minsk Accords were fully implemented but it might end up with a very different administrative structure in the most extreme scenario. That outcome would be disadvantageous for the country’s existing elites and their US-led Western patrons but would arguably be more strategically stabilizing in the long-run since Ukraine’s extremely deep contradictions are quickly reaching a breaking point as proven by recent events.
In particular, the authorities’ arrest of people who it claims were plotting nationwide riots speaks to how tense the situation has become in that country. It presently remains unclear whether the detained represented genuine grassroots resistance to the increasingly authoritarian government and/or were part of a US-backed Color Revolution plot to punish Ukraine for its very close economic ties with China, but this development nevertheless confirms that domestic tensions are close to boiling over.
Danilov’s prediction of a “very difficult internal situation” has already come to pass and by none other than his own government’s counterproductively authoritarian hand and its unexpected disputes with its chief American patron. In such circumstances, the most beneficial course of action would actually be to immediately implement the Minsk Accords as a pragmatic de-escalation of domestic tensions in order for the existing elite to retain at least part of their influence instead of risk losing it entirely in a revolt.