Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's chief of staff Andriy Yermak has said the establishment of an Advisory Board in the political working subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) does not change the status of the Russian Federation as a party to the conflict in Donbas.
During a "Freedom of Speech by Savik Shuster" panel show on Ukraine TV channel on March 13, Yermak was asked to comment on the provision of the protocol signed in Minsk on March 11 on the intention to create an Advisory Board in the TCG political subgroup regarding the procedure for an independent appointment of members of this Board by "certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine," which could lead to the legitimization of armed forces.
"Today, the format of the Trilateral Contact Group, where there are two sides to the conflict, namely Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE between them, has not changed," he said.
"Today, we have not changed the Minsk format in the political subgroup," Yermak added.
As UNIAN reported earlier, the regular meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Peaceful Settlement of the situation in Donbas was held in Minsk on March 11, during which Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak and Deputy Head of the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kozak agreed to simultaneously open the checkpoints in the towns of Zolote and Schastia.
The sides also reached an agreement on the exchange of detained persons, the disengagement of forces and assets, as well as the establishment of the Advisory Board.
At the same time, Ukraine's weekly newspaper Zerkalo Nedeli (Mirror Weekly) on Friday published the document signed in Minsk. Experts say both representatives of Ukraine, France, Germany, and the occupiers will sit at the negotiating table, in particular, at the Advisory Board, and Russia will become a mediator, but not a party to the conflict.