FTA in Donbas is important element for ending the war – Zelensky
The introduction of a free trade area (FTA) in Donbas will help attract investment to the region and end the war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview entitled "Autumn 2020: Victories and Challenges" to Ukrainian TV channels.
"I have a feeling that big money will come there, which will be able to do everything to make Donbas grow. And this will have a great impact on people who live in the temporarily occupied territories. They will see that it's better to live in a free Ukraine," he said.
The President noted that important infrastructure projects are already being implemented in Donbas, but the main issue that worries potential investors concerns the security situation. "The ceasefire regime is abided. And today a large area is already safe there," he said.
According to Zelensky, the idea of creating a free economic area in Donbas was discussed with investors during a business forum in Mariupol last year, and businesses need to be given a signal that investments in Ukraine, in particular in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, are safe.
At the same time, the President of Ukraine stressed that the possibility of introducing a free economic area does not apply to the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas.
"It is now impossible to introduce a free economic area in the occupied territory. No one will do it. It will happen when the de-occupation takes place, we will control the border, it will be completely our territory, when all the troops are withdrawn there," Zelensky said.