This is a recurring narrative from pro-Kremlin media outlets. It claims that Kyiv and the Moscow-backed separatists are the only parties to the conflict in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, while Moscow is a mediator, together with France, Germany and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Article 2 of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, signed on 17 February 2015 in Minsk, says the following:
“Withdrawal of heavy weapons by both sides on equal distances in order to create a security zone at least 50 km wide from each other for the artillery systems with caliber greater than 100mm and more, a security zone of 70 km wide for MLRS and 140 km wide for MLRS “Tornado-C”, “Uragan”, “Smerch” and Tactical missile systems “Tochka” (“Tochka U”):
- for the Ukrainian troops: from the de facto line of contact.
- for the armed formations from certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk oblast of Ukraine from the line of contact according to the Minsk memorandum of September 19, 2014”.
This document does not specify who “the armed formations from certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk oblast of Ukraine'' are. Since hostilities broke out in eastern Ukraine in 2014, Moscow has been trying to portray Kyiv as the aggressor who is killing civilians, the breakaway region of Donbas as the victim of Ukrainian aggression, and itself as a mediator trying to help them strike a deal.
In reality, there is irrefutable evidence of direct Russian military involvement in Eastern Ukraine. Besides, Moscow provides its proxies with vast information coverage. That is why Russia can also be considered as a party to the conflict, which has sided with the separatists against legitimate Ukrainian authorities.
The UN Security Council Resolution 2202 (2015), which endorsed the Package of Measures, does not say that Kyiv and the pro-Russian separatists are the only parties to the conflict in Donbas. Article 3 of the resolution says that the Security Council calls on “all parties to fully implement the ‘Package of measures’, including a comprehensive ceasefire as provided for therein”.
Read more disinformation narratives alleging that Ukraine, not Russia, is the aggressor in Donbas.