At a special briefing held on October 1, President Zelensky informed journalists that the Ukrainian delegation at the negotiations of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) gave an official answer to the letter of the OSCE Special Representative in the TCG Martin Sajdik. “We’ve answered Mr. Sajdik that we are working to agree the text of the formula with a new legislation”. According to the President, the formula will be incorporated into a new legislation on the implementation of a special order of local self-government in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

At the same time, the President explained the most important aspects of the formula. In his words, a new provisional legislation will act only for a specific period of time until local elections in these areas. And if elections are held in conformity with the Constitution of Ukraine and its laws as well as the OSCE standards, the provisional legislation on a special order of local self-government in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions becomes a permanent law.

“This means, – the President stressed, – that there will be no elections at gunpoint. There cannot be such a thing”. And he added, “The border must be ours”.

Zelensky emphasized one more important moment: the current law on a special status of Donbas will be in force until December 31 of this year. “There will be a new law to be developed by the Parliament in a close cooperation with the society and with public discussion”.

The Ukrainian leader went on to say, “No red line will be crossed in a new law. That’s why there will be no capitulation. And in fact, there is no any”.

In answering the question which of the currently uncontrolled regions in Donbas could win elections and get seats in the Parliament, the President said that “elections in Ukraine are democratic and transparent” and added that the “Steinmeier Formula is about local elections and has nothing to do with elections to the Parliament”.

The President was asked to specify “what safety mechanisms are provided for to exclude the presence of the Russian troops in those regions”.

“Everything needs to be worked out in detail. And it will be done. The presence of foreign troops is impossible because local elections will be carried out in accordance with our legislation. We’ll see to it. More than that, we’ll prepare all safety mechanisms. And we’ll never allow for elections to be held in the presence of the military. There will be no elections if there will be any troops”, the President explained.

Zelensky has added that all these issues will be discussed at the next meeting of the Normandy Four. When he was asked again “when the Russian troops will be pulled out from Donbas”, the President said, “Before elections”.

The President of Ukraine told the journalists present at the briefing that the Trilateral Contact Group had reached an agreement to begin the disengagement of the troops near the village of Petrovskoe in the Donetsk Region and the town of Zolotoe in the Luhansk Region.

The newspaper Holos Ukrainy