Ukraine’s first president and the Kiev government’s recently appointed chief negotiator in the eastern Ukrainian reconciliation talks, Leonid Kravchuk, said he does not fully understand the notion of "special status" for certain areas of eastern Ukraine, which is stipulated in the Minsk Agreements.
"They want it to be not a territory vested with some special form of local governance, they want it to be a territory vested with elements of statehood. Therefore, they want too much. Russia speaks of the special status as it stands in the Minsk documents. But they wrote them in such a manner that we don’t quite understand what it really is," Kravchuk told the Ukraine-24 TV channel.
Kravchuk said that at the very start of the conflict in Donbass he requested leaders of the self-proclaimed republics to explain how they define the special status for their territories, but received no answer, TASS reports.
"It is either a special status or something with elements of statehood, or an autonomy," he said. "Inform us, what kind of concessions are you ready to make to forge a compromise, so that an agreement can be reached."
In February 2015, participants of the Contact Group for settling the crisis in Donbass signed the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, known as Minsk-2, which had been earlier backed by the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) leaders. The document envisages not only ceasefire, the withdrawal of hardware, amnesty and the restoration of economic ties, but also a constitutional reform in Ukraine aimed at ensuring the decentralization of powers while taking into account a special status for Donbass. However, this plan has not been fulfilled due to Kiev’s stance.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky appointed Kravchuk as Kiev’s envoy to the Contact Group on eastern Ukrainian settlement on July 30.