Kravchuk to consider expediency of trip to occupied Donbas / Photo from UNIAN

Head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) and first president of independent Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk has said he will consider the expediency of a trip to Russia-occupied Donbas if the appropriate conditions develop in the occupied territory.

Speaking in an interview for RFE/RL's Donbas.Realii project, he said he supports the initiative of first Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitold Fokin to make a trip to the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

"From among the people I know he is better aware of the situation there. And he has decisiveness, courage and is ready to do this. And if there are appropriate conditions that I, Leonid Makarovych Kravchuk, need to study any issues for a solution, I will also think about how to do this, not excluding direct contacts," Kravchuk said.

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The official was also asked with whom he was ready to sit down at the negotiating table in the occupied part of Donbas.

"This is civil society, first of all. These are people who are not involved in administration, did not take direct part in hostilities with rifles in their hands, did not torture those who were captured," he said. "These are people who work in higher educational institutions, in schools, in NGOs – I am ready to listen to them."

In addition, Kravchuk was asked what the point in such contacts is if it is Moscow rather than Donetsk that makes a decision on war or peace.

"Not only the desire of Kyiv is needed to convince Moscow, it is difficult to convince them. And when there is desire among people who live there and those who are outside (the occupied territories), I emphasize this is 1.7 million people, Moscow will hear better and will also meet people halfway. I believe in this," he added.

On July 30, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky officially appointed Kravchuk as Ukraine's representative to the TCG at the Minsk talks on Donbas.