At the meeting in Minsk, all participants in the settlement group in the eastern Ukraine agreed on the Steinmeier formula for its implementation in Ukrainian legislation. This was stated by the plenipotentiary representative of Russia at the talks Boris Gryzlov.
“All participants in the meeting of the contact group, including representatives of the ORDO and ORLO, agreed on the Steinmeier formula for its implementation in Ukrainian legislation. Thus, the procedure for enacting the law on the special status of certain regions of Donetsk and Lugansk regions has been agreed, ”RIA Novosti quoted Gryzlov as saying.
According to him, it was possible to "overcome the resistance of the Ukrainian delegation, which at the last meeting of the contact group slowed down the signing of this formula."
It should be noted that on September 18 the previous meeting of the contact group was held in Minsk. Then the Russian side announced the refusal of Kiev to agree on a mechanism, despite the fact that the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Vadim Pristayko, declared his readiness to work according to the Steinmeier formula. Later in Ukraine it was stated that an agreement could not be reached due to a “misunderstanding”.
The so-called Steinmeier formula is used to indicate the mechanism of local elections in the Donbass and to provide special status to this region. The author of this concept was the German side and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who previously served as head of the German Foreign Ministry. Now he is the current president of Germany.
We are talking about a mechanism for enacting a law on a special procedure for local self-government in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. He suggests that the Donbass will receive special status on a temporary basis on the day of the elections. On an ongoing basis, this regime will operate after the publication of the OSCE report, which will confirm the legitimacy of the popular will.
The Russian Foreign Ministry positively appreciated the news about the agreement being reached by the members of the contact group. A corresponding statement was made by the official representative of the department, Maria Zakharova.
“We positively assess the coordination by the contact group of the mechanism for introducing the special status of Donbass and the separation of forces and assets in these areas. We hope this will create an appropriate atmosphere for the further implementation of the Minsk agreements, ”Zakharova wrote on Facebook.
The fact of reaching an agreement was also confirmed by President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky. He noted that for the full implementation of these measures, it is necessary to prepare a law on the special status of Donbass.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine October 1, 2019. REUTERS / Valentyn Ogirenko
- © Valentyn Ogirenko / Reuters
“We responded to a letter from Mr. Saydik that we are coordinating the text of the Steinmeier formula. Steinmeier’s formula should be implemented in the new law on special status (Donbass. - RT ), which does not exist yet, ”Zelensky said during the briefing.
He specified that the relevant document will be adopted by parliament before the end of the year after discussion with the public. At the same time, Zelensky emphasized that the law "will not cross any red line, and therefore there will be no surrender."
“The elections should be held according to our legislation ... If someone is there (from the military. - RT ), there will be no elections, you understand,” the Ukrainian president said.
In turn, the Foreign Ministry of the self-proclaimed DPR also announced the approval of the Steinmeier formula. This was told by the head of the Foreign Ministry of the DPR Natalia Nikanorova.
“Today, from our point of view, there has been a huge breakthrough ... Finally, today, after another signal from the advisers (leaders of the Norman four. - RT ), the Ukrainian side nevertheless agreed to sign and agree on the Steinmeier formula,” she said.
However, the self-proclaimed LPR stated that Kiev should fill Steinmeier’s agreed formula “with content that will be discussed and agreed with representatives of the LPR and the DPR in the Minsk format.” This was announced to TASS by the representative of the LPR in the political subgroup of the Contact Group Rodion Miroshnik.
In addition, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman Martin Saydik spoke to reporters and clarified the essence of the procedure. According to him, the members of the contact group letters to him confirmed the text of the formula. At the same time, Saydik expressed the opinion that it is too early to speak about the timing of the elections indicated in the Steinmeier formula.
- OSCE Special Representative Martin Saidik answers journalists' questions
“There is still much work to be done on this issue within the contact group and in the“ Norman format, ”he said in a conversation with reporters. - A lot of work remains in the political subgroup of the contact group. It is in it that it will be necessary to talk about the holding of elections.
According to Saydik, many questions remain open, including the safety of the upcoming procedure.
In turn, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas welcomed the agreement reached by the members of the contact group and announced the “opening of the door” for the meeting of the “Norman Four”.
“I am glad that the constructive atmosphere at the meeting of the contact group in Minsk today led to the long-awaited progress. Thus, the door for the summit of the "Norman Four" and further steps in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements is open, "the TASS diplomat quotes.
Commenting on the approval of Steinmeier’s formula, Federation Council member Sergei Tsekov called this event “a decisive step towards peace in the Donbass.” However, he wondered how the agreed mechanism would be implemented.
“Signing is good, but the Minsk agreements were signed at one time, but they were never implemented ... Let's wait, see how it will be implemented. In Ukraine, they want peace, we want peace, ”the parliamentarian said in an interview with RT.
He concluded that Zelensky was only just shaping his political course. “Time will tell how he will carry it out,” Tsekov stated.
Reaction in Ukraine
Meanwhile, Ukrainian nationalists organized a rally in Kiev, protesting against reaching an agreement on the Steinmeier formula. Representatives of several movements gathered at the spontaneous protest rally, holding placards with the slogans "No surrender!"
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In addition, a number of Ukrainian politicians criticized the decisions of the current leadership of the country. Ex-President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko expressed the view that an agreement on the Steinmeier formula will lead to the lifting of sanctions against Russia.
“The signing of this formula of Russian origin de facto means weakening or even lifting sanctions against the Russian Federation ... We emphasize that we will never go for it, we are in agreement with the actions and appeals that are heard among veterans today, we will not let the Ukrainian state be destroyed ", - Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook.
In turn, the Fatherland party called Ukraine’s consent to follow Steinmeier’s formula a “threat to the security” of the country.
“The Batkivshchyna party considers Steinmeier’s formula unacceptable for Ukraine, and its signing in Minsk is a direct threat to national security, territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country,” TASS quoted a statement from a political association.
In an interview with RT, Ukrainian political analyst Alexander Dudchak noted that Kiev could make an attempt to reserve “the path to retreat”.
“Now the pressure of the radicals on Zelensky will be depicted, but all the power and sources of financing for these radicals are controlled by the country's leadership, so putting them in their place is quite realistic,” the expert concluded.
He noted that the upcoming approval of the new law on the special status of Donbass in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine could delay the process of implementation of the agreements.
“Let's wait, what will be the new version of the law - this is an opportunity to delay the process, because the Rada will still discuss, make changes,” the expert summed up.