Russia blocked the implementation of the Minsk Agreement, as it anticipates a new and more loyal U.S. administration and a leadership change in several European countries, as stated by Iryna Herashchenko, the First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, and a representative in the humanitarian subgroup of the Minsk process.
Herashchenko stated on her Facebook page that, "The implementation of the Minsk agreements was blocked by Russia and their puppet 'leaders of the republics' not only because Russia is not going to leave the Donbas for now (though Moscow’s goal is not the conquest of the coal mining region but the whole of Ukraine), but also because the Kremlin is expecting that the new U.S. administration will be more loyal. Also, the Kremlin expects that 2017 will bring more loyal governments to a number of European countries."
According to Herashchenko, that is why Moscow delays the decision on freeing Ukrainian hostages. The process itself has been blocked since September 2016.
"For Moscow, it is a trump card in the negotiations on lifting the sanctions. We are talking about both political prisoners in Russia and hostages in the occupied territories. It's bad that the world allows the Kremlin, which has illegally kept Ukrainians for more than two years, to use hostages as a bargaining chip," Herashchenko said.
According to her, "The unified position of the EU that has already been expressed by the leaders of Germany, France, and Great Britain is very important as well as that the sanctions continue until the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, that is until the return of control over the border to Ukraine. And the security and humanitarian issues should be a priority."