Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov labeled as "provocative" a recent statement about the "special status" for the entire Donbas in eastern Ukraine (Luhansk and Donetsk regions) and general pardon for militants.
The idea, voiced by First Deputy Head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Donbas settlement Vitold Fokin's, does not correspond to Ukraine's national interests, the ministry's press service quoted Avakov as saying on August 31.
"No Ukrainian soldier must die because of absurd political speculation. Therefore, the statement by the Ukrainian representative to the TCG, [Vitold] Fokin, about general pardon and a special status for all Donbas is provocative and not in line with the national interests," Avakov said.
Read alsoKravchuk comments on local election prospects for occupied areasThe Minister called on everyone to remember that thousands of Ukrainian soldiers who died for every plot of Ukrainian land in Donbas.
Fokin's infamous statement: background
- Fokin has recently said he is in favor of granting special status to the entire Donetsk and Luhansk regions, not just their occupied parts.
- The official pointed his stance on the special status, answering the question about the idea of pardon to Russian-backed militants. According to Fokin, many crimes have been committed "on both sides" and they 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 orders so. He says the move is also supported by Head of the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG Leonid Kravchuk.
Kravchuk and Fokin in TCG
On July 30, President Volodymyr Zelensky appointed Leonid Kravchuk as chairman of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk.
On August 4, Kravchuk announced that Vitold Fokin was offered the position of "communications coordinator for all parties" within the TCG.
On August 18, Fokin officially joined the negotiating group.