UK welcomes steps towards peace in eastern Ukraine
The United Kingdom welcomes the statements of the governments of Ukraine and Russia underlining their commitment to achieving peace in eastern Ukraine, and welcomes a further disengagement between Ukraine's armed forces and Russian-backed troops.
"I welcome this encouraging step forwards in bringing peace to eastern Ukraine and commend President [Volodymyr] Zelensky's clear commitment to finding a diplomatic solution," FCO Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Christopher Pincher said, according to a statement posted on the official website of the UK government.
The United Kingdom shares the view of the Ukrainian government that local elections in eastern Ukraine can only take place under proper conditions, he said.
"These include a comprehensive ceasefire, withdrawal of foreign troops and unhindered access for international election observers and media," he stressed.
"Russia must now play its part to end the conflict by immediately ending its support for the separatists and upholding the commitments it signed up to in the Minsk Agreements," Pincher added.
As UNIAN reported earlier, representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the OSCE and the self-proclaimed "republics of Donbas" signed the so-called "Steinmeier formula" at a meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk on October 1.
The "Steinmeier formula" is named after Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the then foreign minister of Germany, who is now its president. In 2016, he proposed a simplified version of a peace plan for eastern Ukraine through holding local elections in Russia-occupied districts. And if OSCE observers recognize the voting process free and fair, then a special self-governing status for the territories will be initiated, which will enable Ukraine to retake its eastern border with Russia.
The approval of this peace plan has received a mixed reaction in Ukraine.