MOSCOW, June 2. / TASS /. This year’s escalation in Donbass was artificial and linked to Ukraine’s attempts to tie political issues to the ceasefire, Dmitry Kozak, deputy chief of staff of the presidential executive office, said in a television interview on Wednesday. on the Rossiya-24 channel.
“Ukraine is trying to tie political issues to the ceasefire. And this escalation in January, February and March was clearly man-made. It has its own reasons – both domestic and foreign policies,” did he declare.
“Today, from the observations we have, it is quite obvious that these bombings were started from areas controlled by Kiev. Therefore, this is a man-made story,” Kozak said. .
Kozak stressed that there was an agreement “to stop all hostile action” in the Donbass, but this never happened, and Ukraine began to talk about the need to transform the Normandy Four group (Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France) to resolve the Ukrainian crisis. .
“In February, they might have decided to worsen the situation in order to draw the United States and Great Britain into the Norman format. And now the whole of the European Union, according to [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky statement, “he noted.
Kozak, who also heads the Russian delegation to the Donbass talks at the level of advisers to the leaders of the Normandy Four group, added that the popularity of the ruling party had plummeted in Ukraine at that time.
“Then the ruling political party and Zelensky himself saw their ratings drop dramatically. Since the peace promises were not kept, it was necessary to consolidate the Ukrainian voters, the Ukrainian citizens. So, this escalation has started, ”Kozak said.
Germany and France
Kozak, the main Russian delegate to the negotiations of the political advisers of the Normandy Quartet, regretted the position of his German and French counterparts, who, during the last six years of talks, he said, have failed to decide who in their opinion are the parties to the conflict in the Donbass, although this is stated very clearly in the Minsk agreements.
In an interview with the 24-hour Rossiya-TV news channel, Kozak cited a response to a direct question on this issue which he heard from his Western counterparts in the latest round of contacts. They argue, “We can’t give an answer. It is a complicated political question. A summit meeting of the heads of state and government of the Normandy Quartet must be called to take a decision.
“Imagine that this happens in the sixth year following the conclusion of the Minsk agreement, after all the declarations and at least three summits by heads of state,” Kozak lamented. “The UN Security Council has approved all of these measures (the agreements reached in Minsk – TASS). Everyone swears allegiance to the Minsk agreements. And in the sixth year comes the declaration ‘No, we cannot do it . ‘ Political advisers, representatives of foreign ministries are unable to provide an answer to a simple and clear question, although the answer is described in detail in the Minsk accords and in the last truce agreement reached in July of l ‘last year.”
Kozak stressed once again that the Minsk accords did not say a word about Russia as a party to the conflict.
“There is only one mention of the Russian-Ukrainian border, and only in a context – after the elections (Russia must put the border in the Donbass under the control of Kiev after the elections),” said Kozak.
“Kiev’s refusal to cooperate with the Donbass”
“Kiev seems dissatisfied with one thing – they have to cooperate with the representatives of Donbass. This is the main problem that we are trying to solve in the contact group [which seeks peace for Donbass]. Because of this, all problems are put on the back burner. Ceasefire issues and the implementation of the mechanism (additional ceasefire control measures have been in effect in Donbass since July 27, 2020 after being approved by the Contact Group – TASS) which guarantees this ceasefire, as well as political, humanitarian and economic issues, are at an impasse, ”he said, adding:“ This is the fundamental reason why we have been at an impasse for six years. years.
According to Kozak, “counterparts from Ukraine and the Contact Group, as well as from Normandy [Four] format (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France), try to save the issue of the conflicting parties. “
“Ukraine tried to save the question of the parties and exclude Donbass from all the agreements that were adopted, to write a fuzzy sentence [in response] to a direct question of whether you mean it’s Russia – yes, we mean it’s Russia, “he said.
The Deputy Chief of Staff stressed that under the Minsk Accords and additional ceasefire control measures, “the parties to the ceasefire are Ukraine and separate areas of the regions. Ukrainian women in Donetsk and Lugansk “.
“Nonetheless, Ukraine now thinks Russia is such a party,” Kozak said, adding that Russia is respecting the Minsk accords on the issue.
Russia wants Donbass talks to be as open as possible
Russia is seeking to ensure that settlement negotiations in eastern Ukraine are as open as possible both within the Contact Group and in the Normandy Four format, Kozak said.
“We have been trying for a long time to ensure that the talks in the Contact Group and in the Normandy Four format are as open as possible so that the public, first and foremost the Ukrainians, who are the main beneficiaries of these talks, alongside of the Russian people, Germany and France, who also want this problem to be solved, are direct participants, that they know the positions of all countries, ”Kozak said. “We have not yet managed to break through that position.”
Kozak stressed that the proximity of the negotiation process is detrimental.
“Diplomatic negotiations are such an old diplomatic tradition. But they are detrimental to the talks, because they do not stimulate discipline, nor the binding implementation of these agreements. The verbalization of all the talks, the absence of a written procedure, of negotiation, of the tabling of proposals, and the lack of publicity do not make it possible to assess what exactly we have been talking about for six years since the signing of the Minsk and seven years since the establishment of the Normandy format, which we talk about but have not concrete results, “said Kozak.
“Ukraine is sticking to a position akin to a well-known disease – a split personality. On the one hand, ‘we are for strict confidentiality’, but as soon as the door is closed, they come out for tell everyone, regardless of the outcome of the talks, that “today, within the contact group and in the Norman format, we have today, with our German and French counterparts and alongside the OSCE , faced with Russia’s unconstructive position, we have accomplished such heroic acts, ”he said.
“And they give their interpretation and overturn it on the heads of unfortunate Ukrainian citizens who do not know what really happened, what it was and who was talking about what,” he added.
The Minsk Accords, signed by the Contact Group on February 12, 2015, are the cornerstone of peace in Donbass. Not only does the package of measures, known as Minsk-2, contemplate a ceasefire, withdrawal of arms, amnesty, restoration of economic ties, but the agreement also sets out a roadmap for constitutional reform in Ukraine. The reform aims at decentralization, taking into account the special status of certain areas in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as well as the elections in this region.
The first talks of the Normandy Four group took place in France in June 2014 as part of the commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the landing of Allied troops in Normandy. Then, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany had initial talks with a view to a solution to the conflict in Donbass. Since then, there have been a number of phone calls and summit meetings, as well as contacts between foreign ministers.