The law on the special status for the Donbass region in Ukraine is part of the Minsk-2 agreement and taking steps towards signing any other document is fraught with great difficulties for future settlement in Ukraine, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
"The law on the special status [for Donbass] is an integral part of the Minsk Agreements. The decision to, let’s say, drift towards any other document is fraught with enormous complications, ramifications of which for the settlement process hardly anybody can undertake to predict," TASS quoted Peskov as saying.
The Kremlin representative urged against building up expectations of the upcoming Normandy Four summit set to take place in Paris on December 9. "At the same time, there are grounds to hope for a substantive conversation," Peskov concluded.
Back in October 2014, Ukraine’s President Pyotr Poroshenko signed a law on self-governance in certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics, establishing a special status there for three years. However, while the law was never implemented in Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) would extend its effect every year. In March 2015, Poroshenko violated the Minsk agreements, introducing amendments to the law, which virtually halted its implementation.
On November 21, Rada speaker Dmitry Razumkov announced that the parliament was willing to streamline work on the Donbass status law.
In late 2015, the then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier put forward a plan that later became known as the "Steinmeier formula." The plan stipulates that a special status be granted to Donbass in accordance with the Minsk Agreements. In particular, the document envisages that Ukraine’s special law on local self-governance will take effect in certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions on a temporary basis on the day of local elections, becoming permanent after the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) issues a report on the vote’s results. The idea was endorsed at the Normandy Four meeting in Paris on October 2, 2015, and has been known as the Steinmeier formula since.