Zelensky lays down terms of Steinmeier formula's implementation

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has reaffirmed that the only way to implement the Steinmeier formula is following the endorsement of a new law on the special status of Donbas, which will be considered after 2019, while the sides should begin by ensuring a ceasefire, disengaging forces and hardware, and exchanging prisoners, and all Normandy-format parties should demonstrate their readiness to end this war.

"As I have said on multiple occasions and can say again, the Steinmeier formula regulates nothing but the law on the special status of Donbas. You know that this law is valid through December 31 of this year and will cease to be effective afterward. The Steinmeier formula will be incorporated in the new law on the special status if we meet in the Normandy format, the four parties agree on ways to further regulate the process, and all parties, including Russia, show the will to end this horrible tragedy and this war," Zelensky said at a joint press conference with Latvian President Egils Levits in Riga on Wednesday.

The law on the special status of Donbas will be discussed in the Verkhovna Rada, but it is too early at present to speak about that, Zelensky said.

"You know what the first steps should be: a ceasefire and a prisoner swap," he said.

The disengagement of forces in three areas must come next, he said.

"Only then can the next steps, which we are ready to discuss, follow," Zelensky said.