Ukrainian foreign minister speaks of hard compromises to settle Donbas crisis
Implementing the agreements in the Minsk format, including the Steinmeier formula, cannot be Kyiv's unilateral compromise, as reciprocal steps are expected from Russia, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said.
"Certain steps have been taken; they did not come easy for Ukraine. We understand that hard compromises are expected, which causes misunderstanding in the public. We have to take our part of a difficult way, expecting that we will bring peace to Ukraine," Prystaiko said in Luxembourg after meeting foreign ministers of the European Union countries.
"All the ministers shared an opinion that there is an understanding of the Steinmeier formula, which implies that the special status [of certain Donbas areas] can come into force following elections, and this should not be at odds with Ukrainian legislation and should meet OSCE high standards; and these elections cannot be held in an occupied territory, and they cannot be held when foreign military forces are deployed in this territory, and they cannot be conducted as long as the border is outside the Ukrainian control," Prystaiko said.
The EU "is backing Ukraine that this should not be Ukraine's unilateral compromise," and Russia should "fulfil its part of work," he said.
The minister thinks that he "managed to explain to the ministers what President Zelensky wants to achieve in concrete and how high chances are that Putin will follow the suit of the three countries [Ukraine, France, and Germany], which are frankly seeking to reach a success in the Normandy process."
At the meeting, "three main topics were discussed: what is happening in eastern Ukraine and what chances for success the Normandy process has; the second one was devoted to the reforms in Ukraine, specifically to what is being done and what should be done; and the third one was Ukraine's course toward European integration," Prystaiko said.
"I think that all ministers understood today that Ukraine seriously wants to continue the course toward European integration, as nothing is changing in relation to the European Union, or in regard to NATO. Ukraine is continuing to pursue the course put down in the Constitution," the foreign minister said.