Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says he is convinced that the war in Donbas could end within a week if the Russian Federation agrees to pull out of the occupied territories of Ukraine.
"All ways to solve [the problem] are clear and have been discussed many times and are on the table. But what is missing is the 'green light' from Moscow to move forward. If Moscow politically decides to stick to its own promises – and they have said many times that Donbas should remain part of Ukraine – and decides to withdraw its troops, the conflict can be resolved easily and quickly enough," he said.
"The methods for the withdrawal of troops, the methods of holding elections without the participation of Moscow – all of them have long been thought out in detail. Therefore, we should ask ourselves: not how long it will take to end the conflict, but how long it will take to force Russia to agree to end it. If Russia agrees to do this tomorrow, the conflict will be over in a week," Kuleba said.
At the same time, the Foreign Minister says that the effectiveness of negotiations in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on resolving the situation in Donbas was falling.
"The fact is that Russia did not reciprocate any constructive gesture, step or proposal from Ukraine. Moreover, the Russian media are now full of reports that accuse Ukraine of allegedly preparing for a military escalation in Donbas" Kuleba said.
The minister described such reports by the Russian media as propaganda.
"It is not we who are preparing an offensive, but Russia is preparing an escalation of tension. It is a pity that, despite the efforts of Ukraine, Germany and France – Russia does not behave constructively within the framework of the Normandy format and does not agree to convene another summit of leaders to assess the situation and make proposals for new steps," he said.
Kuleba also stressed that the situation in Donbas was not frozen, as shelling and ceasefire violations continue.
New plan for Donbas
- Chief of the President's Office Andriy Yermak said that Ukraine, together with Germany and France, had developed a plan to restore peace in Donbas. At the same time, Russia has not yet approved it.
- "Today there is a specific peace plan on the table that was proposed by Germany and France, finalized by Ukraine, and we believe that it complies with the spirit and principles of Minsk [agreements], it complies with the norms of international law," he said.
- Later, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said that it was "the first time they had heard" about such a peace plan for Donbas.
- At the same time, the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG reported that the new plan for Donbas would be presented by the end of March, but its details have not yet been disclosed.