Zelensky comments on complexity of "border" issue in Donbas settlement talks
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky considers the most critical issue of the Minsk agreements that of regaining control over the Ukraine-Russia border in the occupied eastern regions.
Speaking at a briefing in Paris following the Normandy Four summit December 9, Zelensky said: "I proposed creating a subgroup in Minsk, which will deal exclusively with the issue of a phased regaining of control of the Ukrainian border. And I would like this stage to end before the elections [in the occupied Donbas]."
Zelensky added that "the Russian president's position is coordinated with Minsk [agreements]."
"I believe that this is the most difficult situation and loss for Ukraine in Minsk ... that's the border," Zelensky said.
The president said he saw no problems in the Steinmeier formula, because it was not part of the Minsk deal. He referred to it as "a compromise for another compromise".
At the same time, Zelensky says, Putin has a "different vision": "In a sense, we fell hostage to Minsk. I said that we won’t do it. He said that they see no other way out. But we started talking about it. And they said: Well, okay, let's talk."
At a joint press conference following the Normandy Four talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized that Minsk Agreements had clearly stated that Ukraine would start regaining control over the sections of Ukraine-Russia border in eastern Ukraine the day after local elections are held in the conflict-stricken areas of Donbas and that he saw no sense in "dismantling" Minsk agreements.