Zelensky Agrees to Grant Special Status to Donbass

The Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky agreed to a special state status to the separatist region and will hold elections there adhering to the Ukrainian constitution, Euronews reports.     

“Today at the Normandy Four summit the last obstacles were removed. I think in the near future we will have exact dates” – Zelensky said to reporters in Kyiv.

The strategy to grant Donbas a special status and elections for the Eastern region is known as the Steinmeier formula. Referring to the (now president) former German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier who propositioned it in 2016.

Zelensky demands all Russian troops out of the Donbas territory prior to the planned election. He states he will not permit a special status decree for Donbas to have any effect on Ukraine’s constitution.

While the Normandy format and even OSCE remain uncertain on whether Russia will deliver, Zelensky is harshly criticized by nationalists for conceding too much to Moscow.    

Demonstrations were held in Kyiv on Wednesday against the authorization of the declared Steinmeier Formula.

Several weeks ago, after long-lasting negotiations, Russia and Ukraine agreed to exchange war prisoners, a serious development in the discussions to terminate the five-year conflict.

Though a ceasefire was signed in 2015, small scale combats still endured. The conflict between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists has claimed over 13,000 lives, since March 2014.

By Beka Alexishvili

Image Source: emerging-europe.com

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