It is needed to hold regular meeting of leaders of Normandy Four states – Yermak
Nowadays, there is a need to hold a regular meeting of the leaders of the Normandy Four states to approve a plan for further actions, Head of the President's Office of Ukraine Andriy Yermak said.
"There is definitely a need to hold the regular meeting of the leaders of the Normandy Four states. The agreements in Paris made it possible to release a significant part of the prisoners, and subsequently a ceasefire was ensured. The Normandy meeting is also needed in order to approve a detailed plan for the implementation of the Minsk agreements," Yermak said.
He said that over the year that has passed since the last meeting in Paris, the situation in Donbas has been fundamentally changed, including by the achievement of the first long-term armistice in the war years.
"Now we need to work out a general plan at the level of political advisers to the leaders of the Normandy format and approve it already at the level of the leaders of the Normandy Four states," Yermak said.
"This year has once again shown that Ukraine will work persistently to end the war and return peace to our land," he said.
Yermak believes that in general, the situation in Donbas has changed fundamentally over the last year.
Among the main achievements of the last year, he noted the long-term ceasefire in the area of the Joint Force Operation (JFO).
Also, Yermak said the work of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) was restarted: the current members of the government and parliament were included in the Ukrainian delegation.
He said that the political subgroup of the TCG continues to work on a bill to implement the "Steinmeier formula."
"Ukraine continues to insist that democratic elections of local government according to OSCE standards in ORDLO are possible only after complete de-occupation and ensuring the full activity of Ukrainian authorities, political parties, media and international observers throughout Donbas without restrictions," Yermak said.
The conditions for residents of the temporarily occupied territories crossing the contact line were also improved, namely, at the new entry-exit checkpoints they can receive administrative services, social support and medical assistance. In addition, the opportunities for applicants from ORDLO to enter Ukrainian higher educational institutions were increased.
Yermak noted the importance of ensuring the safety of the civilian population on both sides of the contact line and recalled that four new areas for the disengagement of forces and 20 areas for demining had been agreed during the year.
"We need to speed up the exchange of detainees. Back in July, the Ukrainian delegation handed over its agreed lists for the next exchange. In addition, an agreement on the admission of representatives of the Red Cross to the temporarily occupied territories must be fulfilled," he said.
Meanwhile, Ukraine ensured the operation of all entry-exit checkpoints, including opening two new ones, while the other side blocked them from its side.
"We have returned the issue of the liberation of the Ukrainian Crimea to the world agenda. We are organizing the activities of the Crimean platform, which will focus government efforts and international cooperation on the task of returning our peninsula," the head of the President's Office said.