EU urges Ukraine to provide special status for Donbas, despite militants’ violations of Minsk Agreement
The European Union has urged the Ukrainian government to fulfill the "later" provisions of the Minsk Agreement, in particular regarding the provision of a special status for the Donbas.
The EU said that this should be done without waiting for Russia and the militants it controls to carry out their part of the agreement, Ukrainian newspaper Europeiska Pravda reported on Tuesday.
European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn made the request to the Ukrainian government during his recent visit to Kyiv, where he met with deputies of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraines parliament, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
Deputy Chairman of Committee of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Foreign Affairs Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze confirmed the request had been made.
"The Europeans want us to propose a strategy for a special status for this Donbas. And this status is not to be limited for three years (as in the law on the status of certain territories) but to be effective on a permanent basis," she said.
Klympush-Tsintsadze also stated that despite the fact that the first steps in the Minsk peace plan are not being fulfilled – the ceasefire has not been observed, heavy weapons not withdrawn, hostages not returned - the EU suggests Kyiv should fulfill the fifth or seventh provisions of the agreement.
At the same time, the Foreign Ministry said Kyiv had not been urged to grant such a new status to the Donbas, but to "discuss" the possibility.
"The EU wants all issues regarding Minsk talks to be discussed within the subgroups of the contact group. So there is no taboo on any topic, including this one. But it is an informal discussion, an exchange of ideas," said a source in the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine.
"[But] the official dialogue will start only after the election of legitimately elected representatives [of individual regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions]," according to the source.