Director of the NATO Liaison Office in Ukraine Alexander Vinnikov supports efforts aimed at the implementation of the Minsk peace agreements, including the withdrawal of troops and the confirmation of the "Steinmeier formula" text.
"NATO fully supports the implementation of the Minsk agreements by all parties. We take note of the confirmation in the Trilateral Contact Group of the text of the 'Steinmeier formula.' This step could contribute towards the full implementation of the Minsk agreements by all parties. We support all efforts aimed at reducing tensions and may contribute to the full implementation of the agreements as this is the only way to a political settlement," he said during a briefing in the town of Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk region, Hromadske reports.
Vinnikov also said NATO was calling on Russia to "fully comply with its obligations."
As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on October 1 said the Ukrainian side at Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) talks in Minsk had responded to a letter from Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the TCG, Ambassador Martin Sajdik that the so-called "Steinmeier formula" on the peace settlement in Donbas was "pending approval."
"We responded to Mr. Sajdik's letter that we have been in the process of approval of the wording of the 'Steinmeier formula,'" Zelensky said.
"The 'Steinmeier formula' should be incorporated in a new law on special status [the law on special provisions of local self-government in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions], which is not ready yet," Zelensky said.
The current law on Donbas' special status is expiring on December 31, 2019. According to the president, a new law will be developed by the parliament in close cooperation and open discussion with the public and no "red line" will be crossed in the new law.
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 such peace plan has received a mixed reaction in Ukraine, as many Ukrainians think that agreeing to such conditions means surrender to Russia.
Thousands of Ukrainians gathered on Kyiv's Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square, as well as many other settlements on October 6 for a "viche" (a popular assembly) to protest against the so-called "Steinmeier formula." The event was held under the 'No Surrender!' slogan.