Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine, Oleksandr Danyliuk, says the NSDC's meeting on Donbas is now being prepared.
"The National Security and Defense Council meeting on Donbas is being prepared. We had the first meeting on energy where we had a solution. Regarding Donbas – as you know, the simplest thing is to make another statement. But the NSDC doesn't hold meetings to make statements. It is necessary to work very carefully to reach a comprehensive decision. We also need to look into who will implement this decision and how it will be implemented," he said in an interview with the BBC's Ukrainian service.
When asked whether the decisions that are being prepared on Donbas concern humanitarian or economic issues, Danyliuk said this was a set of measures.
"Because none of the ideas we have voiced will work alone. In any case, it will require a set of measures, as well as an understanding of what we expect from the other side," he said.
To clarify whether it is, for example, about lifting the economic blockade, Danyliuk said: "I have been asked this question about the blockade before. I believe such a step alone will not bring anything. This is not a blockade, let's call a spade a spade. These are restrictive trade measures that were introduced in response to the nationalization of our enterprises in an uncontrolled territory."
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He added these enterprises had ceased paying taxes to the central budget, therefore there were sufficient grounds and there was the relevant decision of the NSDC.
"And when asking about lifting restrictive measures, you need to understand what steps will be taken by the other side. Then we may talk about integrated vision. Various options may be considered, now I will not elaborate because any documents that are being prepared for consideration at the NSDC are classified. But any solution in the right set can work out. Separately, they won't," he said.
In addition, answering the question about the president's "roadmap" for resolving the conflict in Donbas, Danyliuk said it exists: "Everything related to Donbas has been worked out... There is Zelensky's humanitarian plan, which in principle is being implemented."
Commenting on the deaths of four Ukrainian servicemen killed in a mortar attack in Donbas on August 9, the NSDC secretary said this was a big loss.
"But you also need to understand that when we agreed on a ceasefire, we understood there would be attempts to disrupt it. Unfortunately, everything is very simple to destroy due to provocations," he stressed.
When asked if a ceasefire is standing now in his opinion, Danyliuk answered: "If you compare the stats (although this might not be the right word to call it), of shellings, as well as KIAs and WIAs, unfortunately, you will see that the situation is now very different."
Also, commenting on the president's call on the leaders of the Normandy Four to meet as soon as possible, the NSDC secretary said: "The situation has changed because this provocation took place, which cannot remain unanswered both inside the country, and beyond, i.e. on the part of the countries that are participants in the Normandy format. If there is no response, this can turn into a routine. We always need to have coordinated internal and external influences."
In addition, regarding the forum in Mariupol, which was discussed at the president's office, Danyliuk explained such a forum had been scheduled for September.
"Now this forum is being prepared, first of all, by the president's office. It is planned to draw attention to the development of Donbas, to attract investors," he said.
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Danyliuk added Zelensky's position is that "any actions must yield results."
"We will not change things only by informational measures. It is necessary to attract investments in the region – in roads, in ports, in the development of other infrastructure, in schools… Money is needed for this. There are resources of the local budget, there are resources of the central budget, there are international financial organizations, and there is private business. You need to understand who wants to get what, to understand motivation. For example, I talked with the president of the World Bank, and we discussed the logic of why the World Bank could participate in projects in Donbas. And we tied this to key reforms they support in Ukraine. If others invest, a critical mass of changes will be achieved in Donbas," Danyliuk added.