REUTERS

Russian leadership and society have grown tired of war in Donbas, that's per head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Donbas settlement, first president of independent Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk.

"I listen closely to all Russians: president [Vladimir Putin], foreign minister [Sergei Lavrov], [Deputy Head of Russia's Presidential Administration Dmitry] Kozak, and [Russia's envoy to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) Boris] Gryzlov. I feel they want peace in Donbas. I do feel it. I don't guarantee that I've already understood everything in detail and took a peek inside their minds, I beg your pardon. But I think Russia is also weary of the war since Russian mothers, whose sons have been dying in Donbas, cry the same bitter tears as Ukrainian mothers do. Therefore, the war mustn't continue. The end of it must be peace," Kravchuk told the Segodnya newspaper on August 17, answering the question about whether he believes Moscow will insist on a new law on the special status of Donbas when the current legislation expires.

I don't guarantee that I've already understood everything in detail and took a peek inside their minds, I beg your pardon

Видео дня

The Russian side will no longer be focusing the issue of Donbas status, Kravchuk has suggested, while admitting that Moscow might as well not go for any concessions.

Read alsoDonbas war: Will renaming "special status" for "special regime" be of any help to Ukraine"I'm convinced they'll no longer be focusing on the issues you are talking about. If we feel– and I admit this could be the case – that they are not into any concessions, while we show we're ready and they say 'No' – well, then, at least I'll have enough courage, strength, and will to say that we've done everything we could based on the Ukrainian legal framework, the Constitution, and international law, but we've been left unheard and so, I see that the Minsk process has no prospects. We are starting to look for other options," he summed up.

Donbas status: background

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, passed the draft law on the special status of Donbas, to be in force for three years, which has since been extended twice. The document says the special order of local government in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Donbas shall come into force only after all illegal armed groups withdraw from Ukrainian territory.

In December 2020, the Ukrainian parliament will have to endorse another extension or pass a new law.

On July 3, Spiegel reported that at Berlin talks between the advisers to the Normandy leaders (Ukraine, Germany, France, and Russia), the Russian side demanded that Kyiv before July 6 submit via the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk a draft amendment to the Constitution of Ukraine on the future special status of certain regions of Donbas.

Read alsoUkrainian envoy says Ukraine may initiate new Budapest Memorandum if Minsk talks failThe "special status" of Donbas, or the law on a special procedure for local government in the occupied areas, is a cause of concern for Ukrainian public, although officials reassure Ukrainians they will make no moves in this direction until Russia pulls its troops from the country's east.

The Kremlin has been exerting constant pressure on Kyiv, demanding that the law be passed without Moscow fulfilling its obligations to withdraw troops, military equipment, and hand back control over the border sections in the region back to Ukraine.

First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk says the issue of granting special status to Russia-occupied Donbas may be put to a referendum.