Ukraine may lose trust of Germany, France, and the entire European Union if it continues to insist on the expansion of the peace talks for the conflict settlement in Donbass, Ukraine’s former President Pyotr Poroshenko said on Tuesday.
"The chase for the format expansion may end up in a situation when we have no new participants but lose trust of Germany, France and the European Union. Bankovaya (a street in downtown Kiev where the presidential administration is located - TASS), with its flawed initiatives, is running the risk of losing although imperfect but the only existing format of talks on peace in Donbass and obtain no other one, either Budapest, or Bucharest, or Geneva, as has been promised over these two years," he said in a video address posted on his Telegram channel.
Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky suggested a new format of Donbass peace talks be created "with strong players." He said however he did not plan to drop the Minsk agreement but thought it necessary to update some of their provisions.
The stumbling block at the Minsk talks is the issue of control over the Donbass section of the Russian-Ukrainian border. Kiev insists on regaining control of this border sector before it begins to implement the Minsk agreements’ political provisions. This position runs counter to the Minsk agreements and the Donbass republics and Russia insist that the sequence of steps under the Minsk agreements be strictly observed.
A peace settlement to the conflict in Donbass rests on the Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, that was signed by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, after 16-hour marathon talks between the leaders of the Normandy Four nations, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine. The 13-point document envisages a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and the people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk and the subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of contact. The deal also lays out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including amnesty, prisoner swaps, resumption of economic ties, local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.