Over the last year, Ukraine has become very active and is taking the initiative in the work of the TCG on Donbas. Previously, it sometimes seemed that Ukraine was simply reacting to the actions of the Russian Federation in the negotiation process.
This was stated by Anka Feldhusen, the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ukraine, in an interview with European Truth.
According to her, it has recently been noticed that the atmosphere at the talks in Minsk has changed due to the renewal of the group’s composition. Both President Zelensky and the Russians have changed their delegations.
At the same time, the Ambassador pointed out another important feature that is becoming more and more noticeable.
Russia is trying to take a step back and convince everyone that it is not part of the “troika.” That, supposedly, negotiations are conducted by OSCE, Ukraine, and separatists. This is not true, but now they have started to promote it everywhere – and we constantly remind them that the Minsk Group includes Russia, not separatists. Russia is a party to the conflict and has agreed to take part in resolving it, and we expect that from it, according to Anka Feldhusen.
She also stressed that, in her opinion, initiatives to integrate representatives of Germany and France into the work of the Minsk TCG do not make sense at the moment. Sometimes diplomats from Paris or Berlin came to Minsk to feel the atmosphere – especially needed by new colleagues who began to take care of this topic at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – but these were visits not to participate in “Minsk”, but to “feel” it.”
In addition, the German Ambassador to Ukraine expressed confidence that elections in the occupied territories of Donbas will not take place in the near future, in her opinion,. There are no preconditions for this.
“Both Minsk itself and Steinmeier’s formula state that the OSCE/ODIHR should observe these elections, as it does in every regular election in Ukraine. But the OSCE sends its mission only if the situation is safe if there is legislation if all parties have the opportunity to campaign, have access to the media in the territory where the elections are held, and so on. There is nothing like that in these territories – starting from security,” Feldhusen stressed.
She also noted that holding elections in Donbas is the biggest problem of the Minsk agreements. At the same time, the Ambassador recalled the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who stated at the summit in Paris that the Minsk agreements were “not carved in stone.”