The Russian Federation representative Boris Gryzlov and pro-Russian forces delegates from the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions put forward new demands to Ukraine at the Tripartite Contact Group meeting on the settlement of the conflict in Donbas. The head of the Ukrainian delegation Leonid Kravchuk reports about this.

He notes that the Kremlin has blocked the process of exchanging prisoners, demining, dispersal of forces and equipment, as well as the preparations for the Normandy Four leaders meeting until the Verkhovna Rada changes the resolution “On calling the next local elections in 2020.”

According to Kravchuk, this refers to the paragraph №4 of the resolution, which enshrines that local elections cannot be called or held in the temporarily occupied territories.

“They asked that this resolution, which was adopted, comply with the Minsk agreements. That is why I appealed to the Verkhovna Rada and said that neither I nor the TCG could resolve this issue. This is a resolution of the Verkhovna Rada. Only they can do it. What will be the reaction? I will communicate with both the Office of the President and the Verkhovna Rada. If we want to move forward, we have to look for a way forward. If we do not want to, we must say: “we do not want it, let it be as it is.” Then, everything will stop. There will be nothing to talk about. No negotiations will take place; we will just stand and fight at the border,” Kravchuk said.

He also added that Russia and the occupying authorities’ representatives from the territories out of Kyiv’s control stressed that if the issue of the local election is not resolved, they will not even consider the other questions.

At the same time, Kravchuk noted that local elections in the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas should be held after peace is restored, troops and weapons are withdrawn, and Kyiv gains control of the Ukrainian-Russian border.

“That means to create a Ukrainian government there, which does not exist at the moment. That’s what we want. But this requires all the parties to want it, too. And they categorically do not even want to talk about this issue. There are Minsk agreements. I must say that they were signed at a difficult time by non-professionals or those who thought that they can deceive somebody. They signed that the election should take place without waiting for the changes. The election first, then the border and everything else. This is fixed in the documents adopted by the Minsk TCG. Nobody changed them. Moreover, this document has been approved by the United Nations,” the first President of Ukraine said.

He also assured that he would never sign documents concerning Ukraine’s sovereignty, state independence, and territorial integrity.

Earlier Leonid Kravchuk informed TCG that the Verkhovna Rada had been addressed with the proposition to consider the conformity of the related documents. They include the parliament resolution on the next local elections in 2020, the law of Ukraine on the specified order of local government in separate areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and measures on the Minsk agreements implementation, which were supported by a UN Security Council resolution.

Bohdan Marusyak

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