Secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleksiy Danilov has commented on statements made by two Ukrainian negotiators at Donbas peace talks, Ukraine's envoys to the Minsk Trilateral Contact Group, Leonid Kravchuk and Vitold Fokin.
"Both Kravchuk and Fokin who were appointed to the TCG have their own opinions on certain issues. They have some experience. But we need to understand this is their position as individuals, as citizens. Whether it is Ukraine's position – I'm not sure about many issues. But I can say that what [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky is doing today is in line with the NSDC's decision dated December 5, 2019," he told Ukraine 24 TV channel.
Danilov reiterated the NSDC meeting had preceded the Normandy Four summit in Paris on December 9 had considered five scenarios to end the Russian occupation of certain districts in Donbas.
"Now the first scenario is in progress, namely a political and diplomatic way of handling the situation. This is when diplomats and politicians work. We are trying to negotiate with Russia so that they leave our home. If we fail, we have every right to switch to other scenarios," Danilov said.
Read alsoZelensky's Office comments on "joint inspection" with Russian proxies in Donbas (UPDATED)Background
- Fokin has recently said he is in favor of granting special status to the entire Donetsk and Luhansk regions – both government-controlled and uncontrolled districts, as demanded by Russia.
- The official mentioned his stance on the special status, answering a question about the possibility of pardoning members of Russia-backed proxy forces.
- According to Fokin, many crimes have been committed "by both sides," and that they all must be investigated, while criminals must be punished.
- Fokin also noted that he was ready to travel to the occupied part of Donbas to negotiate with Russia-backed forces if the president or parliament ordered so.
- He claimed the move was also supported by Head of the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG Leonid Kravchuk.
- In turn, Kravchuk called Fokin's statement his personal opinion, adding the latter had not consulted or discussed it with the delegation.
- On September 9, Kravchuk confirmed that members of illegal armed groups in Donbas would be allowed to jointly "inspect" the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine near the village of Shumy.