Kolesnikov: Special status should be granted to all regions of Ukraine, not just Donbas
A special status must be granted to all regions of Ukraine, and not only to Donbas, says Borys Kolesnikov, businessman and politician, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure in 2010-2012.
"I would give all 25 subjects of our state a special status. What is special status? This, among other things, is the municipal police, which should be present in every Ukrainian city," Kolesnikov said in an exclusive interview with the Interfax-Ukraine agency.
According to Kolesnikov, Ukrainian should remain the state language, as enshrined in the Constitution, but all regional councils should also be given the right to introduce a second regional language.
Commenting on the statements made by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky on the possible holding of a referendum on Donbas, the politician said: "And the question should be put like this: are you for the territorial integrity of Ukraine?"
Kolesnikov also believes that if elections are held in Donbas, Ukrainian politicians have a chance to gain the support of the majority of voters.
"Why not? You think everyone is clapping their hands for what is happening there. I think that the pro-Ukrainian forces will even get the majority if they consolidate," the politician said.
According to him, the main thing for people in Donbas is that they can visit their children and grandchildren in Ukraine, so that there are no explosions, so that Donbas again becomes the most dynamically developing region of Ukraine.
"It is important for ordinary people that a pension received on time, there is an ability to work and study for their children and grandchildren, an absolutely peaceful life," stressed Kolesnikov. He also noted that the Ukrainian authorities hadn't made enough efforts to return Donbas.
"Let's start small, so that Ukraine does not alienate the people who remain in the uncontrolled territory - these are our citizens!" Kolesnikov said.
According to the politician, it is necessary to start the reintegration of this region with the restoration of regular passenger traffic.
"Let's start with the little things. Passenger, rail and bus traffic is constant. Without humiliating transfers and checkpoints (checkpoints of entry and exit)," Kolesnikov noted.
The politician is convinced that freezing the conflict mustn't be allowed.
"This is the death of Ukraine. It will be falling apart," Kolesnikov said.