There is a video circulating since (shortly?) before the Russian invasion of Ukraine (it was published at latest on Feb 15, 2022) in which someone (apparently an "Oleg Pakholkov" (Олег Пахолков) from an outlet called "Блокнот Новости") explains that Russia's sending of troops into Ukraine was completely legal based on the Minsk agreements.1 He reasons that according to the agreements, Russia acts as a guarantor in the agreements and therefore has the right to militarily stop a new local conflict in the troubled regions.

At least in the Wikipedia summaries of the Minsk Agreements, I could not find anything very explicit about this role (but it is well possible I am unaware of certain terms and their implications).

Furthermore, it has been argued that recognizing the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as sovereign was done in part so Russia could legitimately bring troops into those regions, as a support requested by the then recognized local governments. (This point has been discussed, for instance, in a related question.) Which seems unnecessary if they assumed to be legally entitled to move troops into Ukrainian territory, anyway.

For this question, let's keep aside certain factors such as

  • sending troops to advance throughout the entire country
  • having troops attack plenty of places they come across
  • being secretive about the fact that any of your troops are supposed to enter the neighbouring country at all rather than just conducting exercises until right before the attack started

being rather suboptimal solutions to "preventing a local conflict": Is the basic reasoning, that the Minsk Agreements warrant Russia's deploying troops into Ukraine, sound?

1: I hope I did not mix up who said what. Please do point out mistakes in the comments and I'll fix them. I do not speak Russian, and the transcript of the video was a bit confusing about who said what.

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    Minsk agreements are defunct at the moment when Russian Federation Recognized Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republics, which happened on late February 22.
    – alamar
    Mar 14, 2022 at 15:19
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    @alamar: True that, though the video was published before that event. Mar 14, 2022 at 15:20
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    @Philipp that's Minsk I, the Minsk II agreement is Annex I of SC Resolution 2202
    – CDJB
    Mar 14, 2022 at 15:23
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    First, Putin has no intention of invading Ukraine and it is just lies from the US media. Then, Putin's invasion would be perfectly fine under the Minsk agreements. Then, the Minsk agreements "no longer exist," according to Putin. The goalposts constantly shift when it comes to justifying invasions.
    – Obie 2.0
    Mar 14, 2022 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


The Minsk accords do not give any signing power the right to invade Ukraine, even if they were violated. According to item 10 of the implementation agreement, foreign troops actually have to leave. Annex 1 doesn't invite Russians in, either. Annex 2 again explicitly bans foreign units, item 9.

However, in the past Western powers argued for the right-and-duty of humanitarian interventions under the Responsibility to Protect (independently of the Minsk accords). If there actually was a genocide in Ukraine, the Minsk accords and geographical proximity would give Russia a good case for being the organizer of a coalition of the willing. The overwhelming consensus of the international community seems to be that there is no such genocide, so Russia's reasoning does not apply.

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    Thank you for the answer. I'm going to wait for a few more days before accepting it as usual on SE, but it is well-written as it is already. Mar 15, 2022 at 9:51

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