At present, there are no conditions for the Trilateral Contact Group talks on the settlement of the situation in Donbas to be resumed in Minsk.
“We understand that Russia will play on this story. In principle, the Russian Federation benefits from everything that slows down the peace process and blocks negotiations. Of course, it will use a story with possibility for Ukraine or OSCE to come to Minsk to slow down the negotiation process,” Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said.
He added that Kyiv considered various proposals on where to create a new negotiating platform. However, a venue must be agreed on by three parties: Ukraine, the OSCE, and the Russian Federation.
Kuleba also noted that Alexander Lukashenka “was given the opportunity to join the process, to show his authority. Unfortunately, he did not justify the confidence. He discredited himself.”
At the same time, Leonid Kravchuk, head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group on the settlement of the situation in Donbas, believes that the transfer of TCG meetings from Minsk may change the format of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, and further meetings in Minsk are unacceptable.
“Lukashenka is clearly showing his dictatorial method of governance and, in fact, he is acting against his own people, for which, I am sure, he will be held accountable. And no one will ever forget his deeds. And at this moment, I think it is simply illogical for us to declare in Minsk some things concerning peace in Donbas,” Kravchuk said.
He added that Ukraine had no doubts about the need to change the negotiation site.
Meanwhile, Ambassador of Poland to Ukraine Bartosz Cichocki stated that Poland was ready to offer venues for talks on Donbas.
“If there is a desire to hold talks in Warsaw or Krakow, we will be logistically ready. We have many good sites to hold negotiations … I understand that the parties should return to a live discussion after restrictions forcing online communication end. This is very important,” the diplomat said.
As a reminder, the idea to transfer talks from Minsk was first voiced in August last year after the Belarusian security forces had cracked down on citizens of the country who went out to protest. A new wave of discussions began after the forced landing of Ryanair plane in Minsk and the detention of opposition Belarusian journalist Raman Pratasevich.