Ukraine proposes to involve representatives of ORDLO territories who left to escape war for talks in Minsk – Yermak
Assistant to President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, Andriy Yermak, has said that the Ukrainian side will offer to involve representatives of certain regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (ORDLO), who live in Ukraine-controlled territory, in the negotiations of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) in Minsk.
"Today, Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE are represented in the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk. There are also so-called "experts" who represent the territories of [ORDLO]. Almost every clause of the Minsk agreements says that this should be agreed with representatives of the territories. And all the time, for some reason, representatives of the territories were representatives of vague organizations that today are neither supported nor officially accepted by any state, even by Russia," he said at the Chatham House in London on Thursday.
Yermak noted that there are nine districts in Luhansk region and nine districts in Donetsk region, and it would be logical that today there would be "one representative from each part, that is 18 people, and 18 people that we [Ukraine] will appoint."
"I want to remind you that before the war more than six million people had lived in these territories. Today, there are only 1.5 million people. Many people left because of the war, many of them live today in the territory controlled by Ukraine. And we want to suggest that representatives of the territories be people who today have some kind of connection, registration in these 18 districts, real estate, business, that is, they have legal confirmation that they can represent these areas," he explained.
According to him, the Ukrainian side wants them to be famous respected people, who have a good reputation, including athletes, cultural figures. "These 36 people will choose six people, three on each side, and it is they who will represent the territories today [of ORDLO]," he added.
Zelensky's assistant pointed out that the Russian side always says that Ukraine "should talk with the territories, sit down at the table with these people, but we cannot talk with people who are not recognized by international law." "But we are ready to talk with our citizens. I think that if we agree on this, it will be a very revolutionary decision that will radically change the diplomatic landscape. Since until today we only had representatives of these vague groups who were present as "experts," he said.