Kuchma denies possibility of holding Donbas elections in near future
Leonid Kuchma, Ukrainian representative to the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine (TCG), has said that elections in the Donbas territories not controlled by Kyiv should not be held until illegal armed formations are withdrawn from there, and that concessions in the negotiating process should not made to the detriment of Ukraine's interests.
"The Normandy-format leaders must make a decision using the Steinmeier formula. We are the contact group, and we do not make such decisions. Some things are acceptable, and others must be categorically rejected," Kuchma told the press on the sidelines of the YES forum in Kyiv on Friday.
"The talk about Donbas elections has been constant. What elections are you talking about when armed people keep walking around? Elections can be held after troops and heavy equipment are out of Ukraine, when Ukrainian authorities are established, and when journalists are let in," Kuchma said.
"Everyone wants to solve the problem in a snap, just like [French President Emmanuel] Macron said today. [...]. In fact, we do not think this meets the interests of Ukraine. Although diplomats must work, as the president said earlier today," Kuchma said.
First of all, opinions of every party should be heard and understood at the meeting of the Normandy-format leaders, Kuchma said, adding that plenty of time had passed since the previous meeting held in October 2016.