Speaking at Parliament on May 16, Verkhovna Rada Chairman Dmytro Razumkov said, “We should not remove this issue from our agenda but deal with it at various levels. Also, we should not lose contact with the occupied territories of Donbas and Crimea”.

Razumkov believes that the major methods of returning these territories should be international pressure, economic sanctions and successful economic development of Ukraine. After all, people want to live in a place where they will be better off.

As the Speaker stressed, it won’t be possible to return these territories soon. “We will not manage in doing that quickly but to give up these territories is also impossible”, the Speaker summarized.

A video conference with G7 ambassadors was held on the same day. Head of the President’s Office Andriy Yermak informed them that the Ukrainian delegation at the next meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group would include representatives of the temporarily-occupied districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (ORDLO). Those representatives are displaced Ukrainian citizens who will be able to represent these districts at the Minsk negotiations. In such a way the Ukrainian authorities want to bring an end to the claim of the quasi-states (ORDLO) that only they can represent these districts at the talks.

Ukraine is ready to discuss issues involving the situation around the ORDLO as the Minsk agreements require but only with those citizens of Ukraine who are not members of the illegal armed groups, who did not kill Ukrainian soldiers and who have nothing to do with the non-recognized formations. “In our opinion, only such people can represent Donbas”, said Yermak.

According to the head of the President’s Office, Ukraine counts on the support of G7 countries, the European Union and the entire civilized world in helping her reach progress in the Minsk process.

For his part, Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba firmly denied the possibility of a direct dialog with militants of the so-called LNR and DNP (ORDLO) at the Trilateral Contact Group. “Our delegation has refused to have any direct communication with the representatives of the LNR and the DNR. This makes the Russian party angry. But it is our principal position and we will insist on it. There will be no direct talks”, Kuleba stressed.

Moreover, the Minister ruled out any possibility of putting down “a special status” of the temporarily-occupied districts of Donbas in the Ukrainian Constitution. The Minister underscored the firm position of Ukraine with regard to the elections in Donbas. He said that elections could be held only in accordance with the Constitution and laws of Ukraine and only after Ukraine would restore its control over the border with the Russian Federation.

Earlier, the Ukrainian side announced its decision to reload the work of the Trilateral Contact Group at the peace talks in Minsk. Apart from attracting the displaced persons who have been forced to leave the occupied districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions to the work in the TCG subgroups, it’s been decided to enhance the level of the Ukrainian representation at the Minsk negotiations. From now on the delegation of Ukraine includes the Vice Prime Minister, deputy ministers and heads of Parliament committees. The official Kyiv believes that the high-level representation demonstrates Ukraine’s striving to make the Minsk process more effective.

The TCG plans at its upcoming meeting to coordinate the enlarged composition of the delegations of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE with proposals of the Ukrainian side.
“The high-level status of the delegation will facilitate the process of decisions-making. It will also help us see clearly who will try to evade their implementation”, noted the head of the Office of the President.

The Russian Federation has to improve the level of her representation at the TCG in Minsk if she wants earnestly to settle the situation in Donbas. “If she does not reciprocate with the same actions, then she will have to answer questions of our international mediators”, said Andriy Kostin, who is head of Parliament committee on the policy of law. Kostin has been appointed an envoy of Ukraine at TCG subgroup dealing with political issues. Here is what Kostin said,

Russia pretends that she has no part in military actions in the east of Ukraine which is totally absurd. It is impossible to believe that Russian puppets in the east of Ukraine can afford such high-tech Russian military equipment as the Pantsir missile system (in the photo) The militants use it against the Ukrainian army.

The newspaper Holos Ukrainy