We are once again amazed at Kiev’s authorities’ new backflips in the attempts to avoid its obligations to give special status to Donbass. We detect Ukraine’s unpreparedness that borders on refusal to fulfil the obligations set by the Minsk Agreements.
In yet another such interview, Vladimir Zelensky’s aide Andrey Yermak (he coordinated the text of the Steinmeier formula during the telephone consultations between advisors to “Normandy Four” leaders, which the Ukrainian representatives refused to sign at the September 18 meeting in Minsk due to “technical misunderstanding”) openly states that “the special status of the Donbass Republics is not a subject of negotiations and that it is not considered at Minsk nor “Normandy Four” meetings. Perhaps, Mr Yermak had no opportunity or wish to come to grips with the Minsk Agreements.
It is the special status for Donbass that makes the core of the political settlement of the Donbass conflict. Reaching a consensus on its implementation is the essence of negotiations, which is instrumental for achieving results.
Those who want to see it for themselves can read Article 3 of the Minsk Protocol dated September 5, 2014 and Articles 4 and 11 of the Package of Measures signed in Minsk on February 12, 2015 which became an addendum to UN Security Council Resolution 2202 (2015).
Yermak’s de facto refusal to fulfil the obligations taken by Ukraine at the Minsk talks, fully contradict all their previous statements about their commitment to the Minsk accords and their intention and wish to fulfil the Minsk Agreements. If this is Zelensky’s position voiced by Yermak, we cannot expect the settlement of the Donbass conflict as long as he and his team are in office.
Does Mr Zelensky realise that the Donbass Republics, in the existing negotiating vacuum, will use the next five years to further develop their statehood, strengthen their independence and boost their economic and military potential? The result of these five years might be independence and full-fledged political and cultural re-orientation to Russia, as well as full integration with its industry, trade and legislation.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lugansk People’s Republic
Authorised representative of the Lugansk People’s Republic to the Minsk talks