09:30 01.03.2017

Ukraine should prevent Donbas from gravitating towards Russia - expert

KYIV. March 1 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Co-Chairman of the Board of the Heinrich Boell Foundation (Berlin) Ralf Fuecks believes that Ukraine needs to intensify its efforts for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbas and to develop and implement a plan of economic cooperation with the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in order to prevent their gravitating towards Russia.

According to the expert, Ukraine should intensify its diplomatic initiatives towards a peaceful settlement of the situation in Donbas region, including in terms of the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

"This also includes the implementation of the Ukrainian government plan as regards the occupied territories. It is important that these areas and the population, which is now under pro-Russian separatists, should not be cut off and isolated, so that they do not fall into Russian hands. And economic and social ties with the local residents should be intensified in order to increase mobility in the border crossing points, to prevent the economic cooperation from shrinking, but to intensify it instead in order to make impossible this region's gravitating towards Russia," he said at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine on Tuesday.

According to Fuecks, Ukraine also needs to decide what it is prepared to compromise to maintain political sovereignty over these territories.

"The decision of the Putin government to recognize documents of the so-called people's republics is a clear signal that Russia's policy is aimed at the actual integration of these regions into its composition, not annexation, but actually creating a Russian protectorate there in economic and political terms, which would be linked to Russia," the expert said.

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