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What Are the Minsk Accords?

FILE - Villa Borsig, the official guest house of the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, is pictured during a meeting of foreign ministers to examine the implementation of the Minsk peace accords, April 13, 2015.

The so-called Minsk accords of 2014 and 2015 attempted to end the war in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine between Ukraine and Russian-speaking separatists in the disputed areas of Donetsk and Luhansk.

In 2014, representatives of Ukraine and Russian separatists agreed to a 12-part cease-fire deal in the Belarus capital of Minsk. The deal included a prisoner exchange, humanitarian assistance and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the disputed area.

But the agreement quickly broke down after both sides violated the terms.

The two sides tried again in 2015, this time with representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

In the second deal, a 13-part agreement was signed, which called for an immediate cease-fire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons, OSCE monitoring, amnesty for those involved in fighting, hostage and prisoner exchanges, full control of Ukraine’s state border, withdrawal of foreign troops, reestablishment of economic and social ties, and elections in the disputed areas, among other provisions. It also offers regions where pro-Russian separatists hold sway a measure of autonomy that could impact central government decision-making.

Leaders from France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine were present and issued a statement in support of the deal. It was also endorsed by the U.N. Security Council.

But most of the provisions were not implemented because Russia insisted it was not involved in the conflict and therefore could not withdraw forces because it did not have any deployed there, according to Reuters. Russia insisted that any agreements be made between Ukraine and the disputed regions. Ukraine refused a dialogue with the separatists.

Still, according to CNN, most of the worst fighting stopped, and the OSCE patrols the area reporting cease-fire violations.

Some information in this report comes from Reuters.