Kyiv’s proposal to disarm all illegal armed groups in the Donbas and take the border with the Russian Federation under the Ukrainian government control before the local elections “differs from the Minsk agreements.”
Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of the Russian Federation President, reacted in such a way to Ukraine’s proposal to end the war in Donbas and demilitarise the occupied territories in early 2021. He added that he did not know whether the plan had been handed over to Russia.
Some important points of the “Joint Steps Plan” were voiced by Leonid Kravchuk, the head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Tripartite Contact Group, in his interview for the “Interfax-Ukraine” agency.
According to him, this document contains the proposals for the complete cessation of the conflict and the demilitarisation of certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions certain in early 2021, to create all the necessary conditions for holding local elections there on 31 March of that year.
“All armed groups, mercenaries, weapons must be withdrawn from this territory, illegal armed groups must be disbanded. And this should be done in early 2021,” Kravchuk explained, adding that after that Ukraine must take control of the border and ensure normal life in these areas.
At the same time, Kyiv will insist on providing OSCE observers with safe access to the entire territory of Ukraine.
Ukraine will also demand full and unconditional access to all organisations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, to all detainees. The Plan provides for the deadline, until the mid-November 2020, while the final mutual release of the detainees on an “all for all” basis should take place no later than 15 December 2020.
Kravchuk also stressed that it would be significant to clearly regulate the issue of amnesty for those who participated directly in the fighting in Donbas. It is vital not to let punishment for those who are innocent of committing crimes while not giving up the principle of unavoidable punishment for murderers.
According to the Plan, the local elections are to be held on the ORDLO territory no later than 31 March 2021, according to the Constitution and legislation of Ukraine, in compliance with OSCE standards.
“It will be necessary to accept the law on the peculiarities of holding local elections in ORDLO. I think that the Verkhovna Rada has already done a lot in this direction. There is a need to raise all these developments, look at their content, and make an appropriate decision taking into account the changes that have taken place,” the politician added.
He also noted that Ukraine would propose a Free Economic Zone creation within the framework of a local self-government special order implementation in ORDLO. Approximately, this zone will operate until 2050.
To assess the agreements’ implementation process, the Ukrainian side wants to hold a meeting of the Normandy Four leaders by the end of 2020.
Ukraine’s TCG plan will be sent to Heidi Grau, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and the Trilateral Contact Group.