The conflict in Donbas is not and cannot turn into a frozen one, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde has said.
“I am categorically opposed to calling the conflict in Donbas or Crimea frozen […] As this will mean that you have surrendered and do not consider it possible to resolve it. And I believe that Donbas is definitely not frozen now. After all, the Trilateral Contact Group or the Normandy format is still in operation, trying to find a solution,” Linde said in an interview with Yevropeiska Pravda (European Truth) published on Wednesday.
She said that at the Normandy Four summit in Paris, there was an agreement on a new meeting of leaders under a number of conditions.
“Ukraine has fulfilled all the conditions. Russia, unfortunately, has not yet. Now everything depends on how the negotiations will continue, on how it will be agreed to fulfill these conditions,” Linde said.
According to her, there is still a positive result from the negotiations, this is a truce that has been going on since July 27. “And even despite the fact that now we see a worsening of the situation, that a Ukrainian serviceman died a week ago, the situation is still much better than it was a year ago. After all, in 2020, there were 34 victims in January and February alone,” the OSCE Chairperson said.
Linde said the priority of her chairmanship is to try to resolve the conflict, or at least take a step towards its solution, without departing from the principle of comprehensive security.
“And, we will, of course, continue to follow the principle of the integrity and unity of Ukraine, which includes the Ukrainian Crimea and Sevastopol. We will try to build on the achievements of the preliminary chairmanships in the OSCE, using both the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group,” she said.
When asked whether the OSCE should become a participant in the Normandy format, Linde said it is not, since Normandy is already an established format. She said that it is always worth analyzing what is effective, what works. And the current Normandy format is just working.
“But the OSCE has concentrated its efforts in the Trilateral Contact Group, where our representative Heidi Grau does a very important job. And even if she is criticized in Ukraine, in fact she does a lot to get closer to resolving the conflict, and these efforts deserve support as well as the work of the SMM – the greatest mission of our organization,” she said.
Executive Director of the Ukrainian Institute of Politics Mykola Spiridonov has said, while commenting on the results of a sociology survey conducted by Active Group, that making peace in eastern Ukraine could be the only chance for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to complete his presidential tenure successfully.
“Everything has failed. The economy failed, the social policy failed, the foreign policy failed. If Zelensky managed to put an end to the war on the least acceptable terms, he could become a part of history as a successful president. Then everything I have just said about the economy and social policy would be forgotten in 50 years, while the end of the war would be written down in history with capital letters,” Spyrydonov said on the Expert Club YouTube channel.
The political expert said that the government tries to reach a compromise in the settlement of the military conflict in Donbas.
“Zelensky wishes to put an end to the war, but he is not familiar with the instruments. The president doubts. We can set as an example Sivokho, who was appointed and then dismissed under pressure of the nationalist forces,” the expert said.
According to the sociology poll, which was presented by Active Group and Expert Club at the Interfax-Ukraine News Agency on June 22, 2020, some 80% of Ukrainians said that the incumbent government is delaying the end of the war and doing nothing or doing not enough to finish it. Only 6% of respondents said that Zelensky’s team does the utmost under current conditions for this purpose.
The full video is available on the Expert Club YouTube channel: