President of Ukraine

President of Ukraine calls for revamp of peace process to end Donbas war

26 April 2021 - 18:55

President of Ukraine calls for revamp of peace process to end Donbas war

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls for the revamp of the Minsk agreements reached in 2015 with the aim of establishing peace in Donbas, and also calls for increasing the role of the United States, Great Britain and Canada in ending the conflict. This was stated by him in an interview to Financial Times.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls on Western countries to support changes to the so-called Minsk II agreement, the implementation of which is currently blocked.

“I’m now participating in the process that was designed before my time. The Minsk process should be more flexible in this situation. It should serve the purposes of today not of the past,” the President of Ukraine said.

Moscow has in recent weeks amassed about 110,000 troops near the eastern borders of Ukraine and in the occupied Crimea, alarming the Ukrainian government and its western allies. That is why, Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukrainian border a “small victory” for Kyiv and its allies. It was, he said a “step away from the emotional state, towards some pragmatic solution that we would expect here for the Donbas area”.

At the same time, the President of Ukraine stressed that the situation remained dangerous.

“There is a persistent threat, because we are having a war, especially in the Donbas area, and the Russian army, we all know it, is a very powerful force. So we have it continuously at our borders. And this particular case is a case of psychological pressure. We are ready here for some unpleasant surprises. We’ll try to avoid them. Our military is very strong and we are prepared to deter any kind of threat of aggression,” the President noted.  

Given that the agreement on a comprehensive ceasefire in Donbas reached in July 2020 broke down earlier this year, and negotiations in the Normandy format do not yield the desired result, the President of Ukraine offered to change the diplomatic approach and strengthen the role of the United States in the peace process.

“There are two options: we can change the Minsk format, adjust it. Or we can use some other format. The speed matters. The pace of this process matters because we are losing people every day,” the Head of State emphasized.  

He called for the Normandy format to be expanded to include not only the United States, but also the UK and Canada.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy also welcomed the prospect of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden.

“I’m sure they cannot come out of the meeting empty-handed, because if the summit happens there will be some kind of result, however small,” the President noted.

He stressed he would also seek a meeting with Vladimir Putin, adding that "we don’t care about the venue, it’s about the content".

At the same time Volodymyr Zelenskyy would not agree to the Russian leader’s demand that he first hold talks with the representatives of the occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions: “I have no intention of talking to terrorists and it is just impossible for me in my position”.