Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, 6th ed.  –  Online updating pages

Chapter 6: Following Up

p. 93, mid-page [Review meetings] ‘In the case of fragile agreements painfully constructed …’: In the context of the acute Ukraine crisis of early 2022, the follow-up procedures for the Minsk Agreements of 2014-15 suddenly assume great importance. The first of these is the Normandy Format group – so-called because set up in the margin of events commemorating the seventieth anniversary of the D-Day landings in France in June 2014 – and comprises Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France. The second is the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), containing representatives from the OSCE, Russia, and Ukraine. Both groups were charged with keeping the lid on the conflict while exploring diplomatic solutions, and actually pre-dated by three months the first agreement on settling the problem, the Minsk Protocol*(subsequently dubbed ‘Minsk 1’), of 5 September 2014. Only thereafter, I suppose, were they formally concerned with ‘following up’ in order to ensure implementation. In the event, because the agreement was too fragile, their efforts were futile, things fell apart, and on 12 February 2015 a second agreement, ‘Minsk 2’,* was hurriedly agreed by the heads of state in the Normandy Format. Since then, ‘Minsk implementation’ has been a mantra of Western policy makers, according to former British diplomat Duncan Allan, and both Normandy and Trilateral groups have met from time. However, they have made little progress because the agreements are based on an irreconcilable difference between Ukrainian and Russian views of Ukraine’s sovereignty.
*For the Minsk agreements, see Allan in ‘Further reading’ below.

Further reading

Allan, Duncan, ‘The Minsk Conundrum: Western Policy and Russia’s War in Eastern Ukraine’, Chatham House Research Paper, 22 May 2020

Financial Times [Editorial Board], ‘Beware comparing Ukraine with Finland’, 9 February 2022 [paywall, but you might get lucky]

Hasselbach, Christoph, ‘What is the ‘Normandy format’ for resolving the crisis in Ukraine?’ Deutsche Welle, 26 January 2022

Herszenhorn, David M. and Jacopo Barigazzi, ‘Eastern brinkmanship: Tensions with Russia overshadow summit with ex-Soviet countries’, Politico, 16 Dec. 2021