Moscow has maneuvered Ukraine’s Presidential Office into quasi-recognizing Russia’s military proxies in “certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions” (Russian and Ukrainian acronym: ORDLO) for the first time. The vehicle for this breakthrough is the agreement on “Measures to Strengthen the Ceasefire Regime,” negotiated in the Minsk Contact Group, released on July 22, and effective from July 27 for an unlimited duration (President.gov.ua, July 22, 28).
Russia, Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and ORDLO representatives from Donetsk and Luhansk worked out this document in the Minsk Contact Group format. The document officializes the “ORDLO armed formations” as constituting parties to the agreed measures, on an equal footing with the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It sets up procedures for the Ukrainian forces and those of ORDLO (“the sides”) to interact with each other in upholding the ceasefire – a process that would, over time, cement the quasi-recognition of Donetsk-Luhansk forces.