The settlement of the Donbas stand-off has stalled. Russia, as earlier, demands local elections in the rebel-held territories, ex-Pres Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine’s representative on the tri-party Minsk group of negotiators, said, addressing students in Chernihiv Sept. 10.
“Russia is flouting the first step of the Minsk agreements, the ceasefire, demanding local elections. Meanwhile, the Minsk agreement sets a clear procedure: the ceasefire and the withdrawal of foreign troops from Ukraine under the OSCE control and then the local elections, Kuchma said.
Given the continued fighting in Donbas, the presence of 46,000 enemy troops, 500 tanks, and massive artillery, the elections in Donbas cannot be held, Kuchma said.
“We will never agree to give the rebel-held territories a special status. Russia has only one goal – to conduct the elections, put the separatists in power in Donbas and pass the territories under Ukraine control,” Kuchma said.
“Russia does not need Donbas with its problems. It needs Donbas to rock the boat in Ukraine,” Kuchma added.