Kyiv has agreed to the so-called ‘Steinmeier formula’ which calls for elections in Donbass under a new ‘special status’ in exchange for removal of Russian-backed fighters and control of the Ukrainian-Russian border.
Negotiators meeting Tuesday in the Belarusian capital of Minsk agreed on a schedule under which elections will be held in the breakaway regions and a new law will be passed granting them special status. The plan was proposed by Frank-Walter Steinmeier when he was Germany’s foreign minister and is known as the Steinmeier formula.
The agreement comes as new President Volodymyr Zelenskiy targets better relations with Russia. He reiterated Tuesday that Ukraine wants a cease-fire, a withdrawal of Russian-backed fighters and control of its border back before ballots are cast, reported The Moscow Times.
“If we want elections under Ukrainian law, we understand the border should be ours,” Zelenskiy told a news conference in Kiev. Elections can’t be held if “any troops” remain in the disputed regions, he said.
“Today, the final obstacles have been removed to holding a summit of the Normandy four,” Zelenskiy said. “We’ll know the date in the very near future.”
But now in a potentially explosive Maiden 2.0 scenario, hardcore Ukrainian nationalists have taken to the Kiev square which has come to symbolize resistance to Russia in order to protest the popular president’s dovish and rapprochement-signalling policies. Hours after Zelensky gave an unprecedented go ahead to allow a local election in Donbass which could result in Kiev granting a special status to the region, hundreds of nationalists flooded the square holding signs that read: “No to capitulation!”, reported Zero Hedge.
Now nothing is preventing the Normandy Four (Germany, Russia, Ukraine, France) from holding a summit in Paris and discussing further steps to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Kommersant wrote.
The parties will not only have to withdraw their military and equipment, but also dismantle fortifications, and conduct demining. Minefields are one of the main problems, since anti-personnel mines were often planted randomly, without any indication. Another key objective concerns the preliminary approval of the final document of the future summit. This, a Kommersant source close to the negotiations said, was done by advisers to the Normandy Four leaders, reported Russia state news agency TASS.
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