The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky reacted to the scandal surrounding Witold Fokin’s statements about the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine and removed him from the Ukrainian delegation to the Tripartite Contact Group on Donbas. Ukraine’s presidential decrees, published on the website of the Office of the President, states this.
According to the message, the President considers that “everybody entrusted with the functions on behalf of the state must always follow Ukraine’s national interests in the activities and statements and to act accordingly.”
Besides, Zelensky stated that Fokin “departed from a fair assessment” of Russia’s temporary occupation of Crimea and certain Donbas areas.
Now, the Ukrainian delegation work in the Tripartite Contact Group will continue “based on a clear understanding of the full control of the temporarily occupied Ukraine’s territories by Russia.”
The main goal of the delegation and the state, in general, in the President’s Office was called “the return of all temporarily occupied territories, our people, as well as the establishment of lasting peace exclusively on Ukrainian terms.”
To recap, a loud scandal broke out in Ukraine the day before over Fokin’s statements, who declared during a Verkhovna Rada committee meeting that he was not sure whether Ukraine and Russia were at war. He also said he would never be a Russian Federation enemy.
Ukrainian politicians criticized Fokin’s words. In particular, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov called him a “scoundrel and a terry idiot.” Former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk noted that “Fokins” is a “diagnosis: the disease of anti-Ukrainianism, anti-statehood, inferiority, Russia’s licking, wilful Sovietness.” OP Chairman Andriy Yermak expressed the opinion that Fokin should leave the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG. The President’s Office promptly stated that it was “unpleasantly shocked” by the statements concerning the war in Donbas, and “everyone who represents the state must always remember that the official should not be confused with the personal.”
After joining the Tripartite Contact Group, Fokin was criticised a lot because of his statements. In particular, he called pro-Russian militants in the Donbas “insurgents” and announced the idea of full amnesty for all those who fought against the Ukrainian state.