The Protocol on the Results of the Trilateral Contact Group Consultations, or commonly known as the Minsk Protocol, is an agreement to end the war in the Donbass region of Ukraine, signed on 5 September 2014 by representatives of that country, the Russian Federation, the Donetsk People`s Republic (DPR), the Luhansk People`s Republic (LPR) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).    It was signed after extensive discussions in Minsk, Belarus, under the auspices of the OSCE. The agreement, which followed several previous attempts to end the fighting in the Donbass, resulted in an immediate ceasefire. It was unable to stop fighting in the Donbass and was therefore followed by a new package of measures, called Minsk II, which was approved on 12 February 2015.  This has also failed to bring an end to the fighting, but the Minsk agreements remain the basis for a future solution to the conflict, as agreed at the Normandy meeting. On March 2, 2016, michael Carpenter, head of the U.S. Department of Defense, said that at least 430 Ukrainian soldiers had died since the signing of Minsk II, that Russia had “command and control ties” on the DPR and LPR, and that Russia was dumping “heavy weapons” into the Donbass.  The deputy head of the OSCE mission in Ukraine Alexander Hug said on 25 March 2016 that from the beginning of the conflict, the OSCE had observed “armed persons with Russian insignia” in the Donbass in combat, that they had spoken to prisoners who said they were Russian soldiers and that they had “seen traces of tires , not the vehicles themselves, but the tracks of vehicles crossing the Russian border.”  Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on 27 March 2016 that Russia “is not a party to the Minsk agreements” and that the agreements are “two opposing sides.”  However, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe states that the Minsk Protocol also includes the release of hostages who have been abducted from Ukrainian territory and are being held illegally in Russia. B as Nadia Savchenko and Oleg Sentsov.  The new package, commonly referred to as Minsk II, has been criticized as “extremely complicated” and “extremely fragile” and very similar to the failure of the Minsk Protocol.    The New York Times reported that the plan contained “some Tripwirs,” such as the non-delimitation of control of the city of Debaltseve, which was the scene of the most violent fighting at the time of the plan.”   Following the Minsk talks, Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande and President Poroshenko attended a European Union (EU) summit in Brussels.
 At the summit, participants in Minsk briefed EU heads of state and government on the talks. During the briefing, they said that President Putin had tried to delay by ten days the establishment of a ceasefire to force Ukrainian troops to abandon their positions in Debaltseve. For his part, President Putin said that The defenders of Debaltseve were surrounded and that the separatists expected them to “lay down their arms and stop resisting”.  Andrei Kolesnikov, a journalist from Kommersant, wrote that the implementation of the ceasefire in Debaltseve depends on whether or not the Ukrainian armed forces are encirclement: “Does it exist above all? Vladimir Putin insisted that there is [encirclement] and that it will be strange if a ceasefire agreement is reached, if it is not violated: those in the boiler will certainly try to get by; Those who have cooked this kettle will try to pick up the foam.”  While Russia called Minsk-2 a diplomatic victory, the Ukrainians were more skeptical and unsure of the improvements the agreement would make.