Podoliak: Result of negotiations on Donbas, not format, is priority for Ukraine

For Ukraine, the priority is not the format of negotiations to resolve the situation in Donbas, but the achieved result, adviser to the head of the President's Office Mykhailo Podoliak said, commenting on the words of the President of Ukraine about the need to conduct direct negotiations with the Russian Federation to end the war and return the temporarily occupied territory of Donbas.

"Undoubtedly, Ukraine does not prioritize this or that format of negotiations, but the very result that can be achieved. Formats are a technical issue, a question of logistics. But the result, that is, in fact, the end of the war in Donbas and the establishment of peace - this is the undisputed priority number one," Podoliak said in a comment to the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

According to the adviser to the head of the President's Office, the Normandy format today is basic and working, and the Minsk agreements, despite their partial partial lack of reasoning laid down by the previous president, Petro Poroshenko, is determined by the obligatory negotiating positions.

"Nevertheless, Volodymyr Zelensky is looking for and proposes any changes that will definitely make it possible to improve the same Minsk agreements in a pro-Ukrainian manner," he said.

Podoliak also noted that in the conditions when direct negotiations between Ukraine and Russia have not started, it is too early to say what exactly and in what order of steps can be achieved in them.

"But, for sure, for every Russian, as well as for every Ukrainian, it is absolutely clear that the path to peace begins with the cessation of hostilities and the solution of basic humanitarian issues. The political, economic, social and any other framework of solutions can be built only on a clear foundation of a return to at least the basic elements of normality, when such things as the recent shelling of villages in Luhansk region are simply impossible, since people in Donbas simply will not understand some abstract discussions about politics now, when they may at any moment be victims of the 'arrival' of artillery shells," Podoliak said.

As reported, on December 1, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky announced the need for direct negotiations between Ukraine and Russia regarding the end of the war in Donbas and its return to Ukraine. He also noted that Ukraine's western partners fully recognize and support this intention.