Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, affirmed that no common approach on the roadmap for the Donbass settlement has been reached so far. He reminded that the four Ministers met in late November in Minsk. So far, no common approach has surfaced, although the process is slowly moving, at a snail’s pace however. At their meeting in the Belarusian capital city on November 29, the Normandy Four, namely Russian, German, French and Ukrainian, Foreign Ministers failed to agree a roadmap for the implementation of the Minsk’s agreements. The agreements, signed on September 2014 and February 2015, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk starting from February 15 and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.
Ambassador Martin Sajdik, the OSCE Special Representative in Ukraine, after the end of a regular round of peace talks in Minsk, affirmed that The Contact Group, seeking to find a solution to the Donbass conflict, discussed security issues on Wednesday, focusing on the creation of new areas to disengage forces and to clear from mines the area along the contact line. On Wednesday, members of the political subgroup reporting to the Ukraine Contact Group in charge of peace settlement of the armed civil conflict in Donbass, proved unable get over to the discussion of the so-called Steinmeier formula because of the stance taken by Kiev government representatives.
On Wednesday, Boris Gryzlov, Russia’s Plenipotentiary Representative at the Minsk talks, affirmed that official Kiev is making attempts to avoid discussions on the detailed political agenda aimed at finding solutions to the Donbass conflict. Nonetheless, Russia’s envoy at the Minsk peace talks said that it is impossible to find solutions to economic and humanitarian issues, without resolving key moments linked to the security issues and the political reform recorded in the Minsk accords. According to Gryzlov, the most important problems are the non-implementation of Minsk’s agreements and the lack of an agreement on the amnesty for separatist fighters of Donbass and on the exchange of prisoners. Gryzlov added that the clue needed to solve the tasks lies in implementation of a political package and in strict compliance with the security agreements.