Ukrainian Presidential Chief-of-Staff Yermak informs foreign ambassadors of Ukraine’s vision of ending Donbas

21 December 2021, 08:29 PM

Ukraine has worked out and given its partners a 10-step set of initiatives aimed at resolving the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, the Office of the President of Ukraine said in a Dec. 21 statement. 

The plan has not yet been made public.

Presidential Chief-of-Staff Andriy Yermak revealed the initiative during an address to the heads of foreign diplomatic missions of Ukraine at a conference called “Diplomacy 30. Strategy of a Strong State,” in the village of Huta, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast.

Yermak also briefed the ambassadors on the progress of negotiations within the Minsk process and the Normandy format on ending the Donbas conflict.

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Yermak said negotiations have recently been quite difficult, but Ukraine has been trying various ways to move this process forward. For example, the Ukrainian side has presented a number of key initiatives within the Trilateral Contact Group of negotiations, Yermak said. He said these included a return to ceasefire, a prisoner swap, and the opening of additional checkpoints along the contested front lines of the conflict.

The United States also recently stated that it has decided to join in the process, though not as a member of the Normandy group.

“At the same time, this does not threaten the existence of the Normandy format,” Yermak said. “This is a parallel track.”

“We discussed similar issues with the United Kingdom today. Turkey is ready to play the same role.”

France and the leadership of the European Union are also taking a very active position on this issue.

“We’re in a very strong position today,” Yermak added. “And when Russia has made some proposals for security in Europe, we are telling everyone: what can security be like in Europe without ending the war in the center of Europe?”

Earlier, during a report to the Ukrainian parliament on Dec. 3, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said that Russia had deployed about 100,000 troops near the borders of Ukraine and in the Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine. The Russian military is on full alert and may be used to escalate the situation, Reznikov said. He did not rule out a possible Russian invasion.

During his talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Dec. 7, U.S. President Joe Biden “made it clear the United States and its allies will respond with decisive economic and other measures in the case of a military escalation,” the White House said.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Dec.10 that during their latest conversation, Biden had told him that Russia would not escalate the conflict in Ukraine.

Ambassadors from the Group of 7 nations issued an official statement on Dec. 12, warning the Kremlin that there would be “massive consequences and a severe cost” if Russia carried out further military aggression against Ukraine.

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