Zelensky against 'freezing' conflict in Donbas like Transnistria, Abkhazia examples
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky says that he is against the status of a "frozen" conflict in Donbas following the example of Transnistria or Abkhazia.
"Yes, I know that there are some who would say that Donbas should become a kind of Transnistria or Abkhazia. However, it is much larger. Three million Ukrainians live there, that is, more citizens than in some European countries. Many of these people are sick with coronavirus [COVID-19], we are dealing with a humanitarian disaster there. People who live in the occupied part of Donbas can see how Ukrainians live on the other side of the front, namely, better. The miners in occupied Donbas have a bad situation: they do not receive normal wages and have to pay high prices for water and electricity. If the patience of the people there at some point fail, there may also be unrest," he said in an interview with the Wiener Zeitung Austrian newspaper, answering a question whether it would be easier to "freeze" the conflict on Donbas.
Zelensky would not want such a development of events, since, according to him, the emergence of an internal conflict in the occupied territory of Donbas may have too high price.
"There are many people there who are Ukrainians at heart. I do not want them to die. It is not easy for these people, many disappear in prisons, because they celebrate holidays such as the Independence Day of Ukraine. Our soldiers, whom we released, said that they were in prison along with pro-Ukrainian citizens. There are many people who think in the pro-Ukrainian way," he said.
Zelensky said that his promise to achieve an end to the war in Donbas and the return of Ukrainian territories are "not just fluent phrases," but his main priority. "These are not romantic promises. Certainly, it is not easy. However, we have already achieved a lot. We have returned 140 people from captivity. We have carried out a withdrawal of troops. There is no more shooting, almost no one dies. With the exception of one death, there were no casualties for seven weeks. Everyone sees this, and Europe also observes it. Sometimes there are shots from the separatists, but we do not respond to them, and this is good," he said.