Although fighting generally subsided after the ceasefire came into force on 15 February at 0:00 EET, skirmishes and shooting continued in several parts of the conflict zone.  Gunfire and fighting continued in Debaltseve, with DPR chief Alexander Zakhartchenko saying the ceasefire did not apply to the area.  South of Donetsk Oblast, fighting continued between DPR troops and members of the Azov Battalion in villages near Marioupol.   On 16 February, Minsk II appeared to be on the brink of collapse.   The separatists continued a severe attack on Debaltsewe. Both sides said they would not withdraw heavy weapons during the fighting in Debalzewe, as stipulated in the agreement.  Reuters called the ceasefire in Debalzewe a “stillborn.  Ukrainian forces were forced to withdraw from Debaltseve on 18 February and let the separatists take control of the city.  The protocol on the results of the trilateral contact group consultations, also 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. The Ukrainian president at the time, Poroshenko, did not want to make political concessions to the separatists without an appropriate ceasefire. As a result, the Minsk 2 agreement was never fully implemented. But Poroshenko`s successor, Wolodymyr Zelenskiy, has pledged to finally implement the peace agreement. At this point, only pro-Russian Ukrainians support Minsk and put Western allies like France and Germany in the curious position of advocating a peace deal they negotiated, but which many see as a blessing for Putin and the separatists. It was widely agreed that a pro Minsk regulation made unwanted concessions to Russia.
Indeed, for five years, Ukraine has waged a war against what Minsk demands: more autonomy and linguistic privileges for rebel regions that no longer enjoy other citizens after Russia`s annexation of the same autonomy of Crimea. Minsk could also make the Donbass – like Crimea – ripe for harvest. Five years ago, the Minsk Protocol – also known as Minsk-2 – was signed on 12 February to stop fighting in Ukraine`s eastern Donbass region. However, the 13 conditions of the peace agreement were never properly implemented. But these agreements, which are more often mentioned than discussed, are problematic. What for? Indeed, at the time, given the military circumstances, Ukraine had little choice but to approve these documents, even if they were vague on sequencing and crooked, in the sense that Russia is hardly mentioned. Moscow, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, officially asserting that it is not involved in eastern Ukraine, would only sign commitments that would maintain this position. Russia is consistently positioning itself as an external mediator and not as a belligerent party, and this is reflected in the agreements.