Ukraine’s position on Donbass remains unchanged – first control over the border

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Ukraine's position on Donbass remains unchanged - first control over the border

Ukraine would like to see a written statement of Russia’s support for the separatist plan for resolving the situation in the east of the country

KIEV – Russia supports the action plan proposed by representatives of certain regions of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine to resolve the situation in the region. This was reported on November 24 by the press service of the Ukrainian delegation for the participation of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) following the talks in the political subgroup.

“But at the meeting of the Political Subgroup, the news received a sign of sensationalism. In particular, the representative of the Russian Federation Alexei Dmitrievsky said that the Russian Federation supports the action plan proposed by the representatives of ORDLOU living in the territory temporarily not under the control of the government of Ukraine, “the message says..

The Ukrainian delegation asked the Russian side to confirm this statement in writing by November 25 – a meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group at the general level.

“Now we are waiting for their response,” emphasizes in the Telegram channel of the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG.

According to the Ukrainian press, the separatists put forward fifteen points. They demand that the “document” be approved by the Verkhovna Rada.

“In particular, the separatists demand that the president submit a draft amendment to the Constitution to secure certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in it, which will operate until 2050 with special self-government. It will not be possible to make changes to this article without the opinion of the local population, the corresponding referendum is proposed to be held no earlier than 2045 and no later than 2049, ”the website says..

One of the requirements refers to the holding of local elections before the transfer of control over the border with Russia.

Summit in Paris

Following the meeting of the Normandy Four in Paris on December 9, 2019 and negotiations with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the press that they would return to the issue of Ukraine’s restoration of full control over the state border in the east at the next meeting in the Normandy format..

The high-level meeting of the leaders of the countries participating in the Normandy format was planned “within four months to discuss political and security conditions, including for organizing local elections,” after negotiations in Paris, the Kremlin website reports..

The final document, which is posted on the website of the leader of Russia, confirms that the “Minsk Agreements (the Minsk Protocol of September 5, 2014, the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014 and the Minsk Package of Measures of February 12, 2015) continue to be the basis for the work of the Normandy format, the state – whose members are committed to their full implementation “.

The United States welcomed Ukraine’s participation in a successful Normandy format summit that resumed participation of heads of state in the peace process, according to a statement on the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine Facebook page on December 10, 2019..

Ukrainian position – control over the border first

Representative of Donetsk in TCG Sergey Garmash notes that Ukraine defends the position that President Volodymyr Zelensky voiced at the Normandy Four summit in Paris – first control over the border, and then elections.

Ukrainian position on Donbass unchanged - first control over the border

“Russia insists on its interpretation of the Minsk agreements, although, as it claims, it is not a party to the conflict. And we must talk about when Ukraine can gain control over the border – when Russia leaves or is forced to leave, and the border is closed and the conflict will really become internal. In the meantime, the border is open and funding is taking place and Russian human resources are in charge of this process, what kind of internal conflict is this? But Russia does not want to admit its participation in this conflict, “- says Sergei Garmash to the correspondent of the Russian service” Voice of America “.

He notes that Russia could not but support the position of the CADLO representatives at the TCG meeting, since it “itself forms this position.”.

“When we indicated that the CADLO were not members of the TCG and it was doubtful to consider their documents, and we expressed a desire to clarify the position of Russia, the representative of Russia said that consider the CADLO document a proposal of the Russian side,” explains Sergey Garmash.

In his opinion, such a response from Russia is quite satisfactory to the Ukrainian side, however, documentary evidence is needed in order to be able to conduct a dialogue, “since it is clear who is responsible for the failure or non-fulfillment of obligations undertaken.”.

Ukrainian position on Donbass unchanged - first control over the border
Ukrainian position on Donbass unchanged - first control over the border

Border control is a strategic issue

Political scientist Petr Oleshchuk believes that the requirements put forward by representatives of the uncontrolled separate areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions are the requirements of Russia itself.

“The issue of border control is a strategic issue. It was not without reason that Russia agreed to sign the Minsk Agreements in 2015, where the question of the timing of border control was not clearly spelled out. We do not know why former President Poroshenko agreed to this – but the fact remains. There is no clear requirement: for example, first control over the border, and then the elections, “- says Petr Oleshchuk to the correspondent of the Russian service” Voice of America “.

According to the political scientist, the issue of border control also symbolizes Russia’s desire to end or continue the conflict in Donbass..

“If Ukraine does not take control of the border and elections are held, this means the legalization of the current status of ORDLO -“ semi-occupation-semi-autonomy ”. This is exactly what Russia wants. And this issue of control is not a question of the separatists – it is a question of Russia – de facto it demonstrates that it is not ready to make concessions in political terms, ”says Petr Oleshchuk.

One of the separatists’ demands is local elections, says Pyotr Oleshchuk, today is not the right time.

“The Minsk agreements have little specificity, there is no“ road map ”that is recognized by all parties to the conflict. Therefore, it is not for nothing that they say that negotiations in the Normandy format are needed so that a principled political decision is made at the highest political level, ”says Petr Oleshchuk.

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