Ukraine inviting IDPs to Minsk talks – Zelensky's Office chief
Ukraine from May 14 will start inviting to the Trilateral Contact Group meetings on Donbas settlement as representatives of the occupied territories a number of internally displaced persons (IDPs), says head of the President’s Office, Andriy Yermak.
Speaking at a briefing on Thursday, Yermak said IDPs from war-struck Donetsk and Luhansk regions who have not acquired Russian citizenship will attend the next TCG meeting as early as May 14, an UNIAN correspondent reports.
"We will attract IDPs who are forced to live in unoccupied territories. They are registered residents of the occupied territories but have been forced to flee their homes. We will be inviting them to all subsequent meetings of the TCG," said Yermak.
In turn, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for the Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories Oleksiy Reznikov, who has recently appointed First Deputy Head of the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG, noted that 10 IDPs will attend the negotiations.
Nominees for participation are yet to be approved.
He also added that by such a step Ukraine will establish parity with Russia, since so far it has only the Russian side who has invited representatives of the occupied areas to TCG meetings.
Also, Yermak said that tomorrow he would officially notify Germany, France, and Russia about the increased level of the Ukrainian representation in the TCG. The Russian side is already aware of changes in the composition of the Ukrainian delegation, the chief of the president's office added.
"Yesterday I already spoke about our idea in great detail. We agreed that I would elaborate on this in written form, and I think I'll do it tomorrow. Not only they, but also our French and German counterparts will receive letters. If they [Russia] provide some kind of response, well inform the public," said Yermak.
The official has assured that the Ukrainian delegation would dominate the negotiations within the TCG framework.
"I'd like you to hear a very important message – we set such tone from the very start, and it will only be rising. Ukraine will be the initiator, it will be the dominant side in all further negotiations. No one will wait. We know for sure that the war is ongoing in our territory, it's our people who have been dying," Yermak said.
As UNIAN reported earlier, on May 5, President Volodymyr Zelensky approved an updated composition of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk. It is headed by ex-president Leonid Kuchma, his first deputy is Vice Prime Minister, Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories Oleksiy Reznikov, and his deputy is Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Foreign Policy and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Oleksandr Merezhko.
Also, representatives of ministries and heads of relevant parliamentary committees are now involved in Minsk talks.