Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Donetsk People's Republic

Kiev must stop distorting the essence of Minsk agreements - Natalia Nikonorova

25 May 2020
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As part of one political talk show on the Ukrainian television channel, the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Alexey Reznikov, who is also the deputy head of the Ukrainian delegation in Minsk, literally said that Ukraine is not going to implement the Minsk agreements in their current form. For us, of course, this approach is not new, since every meeting of the Contact Group we observe how the Ukrainian delegates do everything to get away from their obligations under the Package of Measures. But we draw the attention of international community, the guarantor countries of the Minsk agreements and the OSCE mediators to such statements by the official representative of Ukraine in Minsk.
Moreover, the further rhetoric of Mr. Reznikov is very indicative: after recognizing that Ukraine will not comply with the Minsk agreements, we hear from the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister not constructive attempts to think about how to nevertheless bring peace to Donbass within the framework of the existing diplomatic plan, but a frank substitution of concepts and a distortion of the whole essence of Minsk process. The causes of Donbass conflict in Donbass are presented as if the main goal of the people living here is to hold local elections, which means that they need to be held as soon as possible, ideally in October, simultaneously with the elections in Ukraine. Such reasoning very clearly demonstrates that the new Ukrainian leadership does not understand at all the real sources of the conflict that broke out due to the rejection of the values imposed by Kiev authorities and desire of Donbass people to live by their own rules. Accordingly, the conflict can only be resolved by providing Donbass with a special status. The Ukrainian side is trying to make everyone forget about this key requirement, which is the foundation of the whole political settlement, and presents the situation in a fundamentally wrong way: we allegedly came to protests in 2014 because we wanted to hold local elections.
Nevertheless, we will never allow Ukrainian officials to pervert reality for the sake of our own interests: a conflict can be resolved only when Kiev finally begins to coordinate with us all aspects of further coexistence set forth in the Package of Measures. Therefore, if the Ukrainian authorities want to conduct the local elections in Donbass this October, then by August they should ensure that the legislative status of Donbass is constantly operating and enshrined in the Constitution, by coordinating all its political aspects with Republics’ representatives, and not with some migrants appointed by the authorities themselves. They should deal with people who lived here all the time of the conflict, worked and suffered from Ukrainian shelling. In addition, Kiev should legally guarantee the prevention of prosecution and punishment of all participants in Donbass events, as provided for in the Package of Measures, and as, incidentally, was easily done by Kiev authorities in relation to Maidan participants. Only after fully completion of these steps by the Ukrainian, it will be possible to start discussing the parameters for holding the elections.
We urge the Ukrainian authorities not to distort the essence of Minsk agreements - this will not help Kiev regain the trust of Donbass. Only a clear, transparent, open and conscientious dialogue with the direct representatives of the second conflict side - the Republics - can bring real progress in the peace talks.