The conflict between government forces and Ukrainian rebels and thousands of Russian troops has killed an estimated 10,000 people and displaced at least 3 million since the war began in April 2014.  The Ukrainian government has been supported by Western deliveries and funding, and the rebels have taken advantage of Russia.  The first attempt at a ceasefire, Minsk I, failed and in February 2015 several actors met again to try again.  The result was the Minsk II agreements signed by Russia, France, Germany, Ukraine and Ukrainian separatists.  Unfortunately, this plan was not followed, including the first steps outlined in the agreements. As fighting broke out in Debaltsevé, emergency negotiations were held in Minsk, brokered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande. They resulted in a “set of measures for the implementation of the Minsk-2 agreements.” The document, signed on 12 February 2015 by OSCE representatives, Russia, Ukraine, the DNR and the NRL were part of new attempts to end the war.51 The treaty initially called for “an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine, and its strict implementation from 00:00 (Kiev time) on 15 February. , 2015 [sic].  These two regions were highlighted because they were trying to separate and where all the fighting was taking place. Second, a “removal of heavy weapons by both sides from an equal distance” was requested to create a safe zone at least 50 km wide.  The second stage provided that Ukraine would withdraw from the “de facto contact line” and that “armed formations in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk” would withdraw “from the contact line provided for by the Minsk Memorandum of 19 September 2014”.  However, both agreements were often vague in their wording, leading to discussions about implementation, the location of units and equipment, and where they were forced to relocate. With the 2015 Ukrainian municipal elections scheduled for 25 October, DPR leader Alexander Zakhartchenko adopted a decree on 2 July ordering the sending election on 18 October.  He stated that this measure was “in accordance with the Minsk agreements”.
 According to Zakharchenko, this meant that the DPR had “started to implement the Minsk agreements independently”.  Zakharchenko stated that the elections would be held “on the basis of The Ukrainian Law on the Status of Temporary Self-Domination of Certain Districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk Regions”, as they were not in contradiction with the DPR Constitution and laws.  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.