Vitold Fokin could be misunderstood / snapshot

Journalist Sergiy Garmash, who has been part of the Ukrainian delegation in Trilateral Contact Group on Donbas settlement, believes deputy degelation chief Vitold Fokin does stand for pardon to be applied to those who committed certain crimes in Donbas, but not terrorists whose "arms are soaked in blood up to their elbows."

The journalist says Fokin's statement on the issue has been distorted in the final text of the interview published by Strana.ua in an act of manipulation of public opinion, Ukraine 24 reports.

Read alsoRussia's Gryzlov throws tantrums at latest TCG talks – Ukraine delegate"We've been talking so much about Fokin. Today [September 2] I talked to him, which was his own initiative... He is very emotional about pressure he's been subjected to. He just showed me the text of the interview, which had been agreed [with the outlet]. There are big differences there from what we all eventually saw. That is, he talks about pardon, but there is also a reservation there, which I believe is missing from the final text of the interview, namely: 'except for those who have their hands soaked in blood up to their elbows.' This is an important clarification," the journalist says.

As for the special status of Donbas, there are also clarifications that should be noted in this context, Garmash said.

Perhaps, if you excuse me, the old man was simply used

"He speaks of a special status, but here it may not be the journalists' fault but his own perception of that special status. When we started talking, [I asked] who will bring investments here if the region is divided? That is, a special status for him is a preferential tax regime, of which he spoke before, and [Head of the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG Leonid] Kravchuk spoke, too. I think there is a certain misunderstanding here. Perhaps, if you excuse me, the old man was simply used. Let's lower the tensions, we need to figure things out," the journalist said.

Fokin's infamous statement: background

  • Vitold Fokin has recently said he is in favor of granting special status to the entire Donetsk and Luhansk regions, not just their occupied parts as Russia has been insisting.
  • The official pointed his stance on the special status, answering the question about the idea of pardon for representatives of Russian-backed proxy forces.
  • According to Fokin, many crimes have been committed "on both sides", and that they all must be investigated, while perpetrators must be punished.
  • Fokin also noted that he was ready to travel to the occupied part of Donbas to negotiate with the enemy if the president or parliament order so.
  • He claimed the move is also supported by Head of the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG Leonid Kravchuk.
  • Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Fokin's statement was of provocative nature and not in line with Ukraine's national interests.
  • Head of Ukrainian President's Office Andriy Yermak said the idea voiced by Fokin did not reflect Ukraine's official stance.