Journalist Sergiy Garmash, who is a member of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on the settlement of the Donbas crisis, says talks with the Russian Federation are in a deadlock, as Moscow has put forward another demand on Ukraine.
"Today the TCG's work is more than ever has reached an impasse since Ukraine insists that dialogue should be conducted with Russia, while Russia insists that we should conduct the dialogue with the so-called 'second side' – Donetsk and Luhansk [occupation authorities]," he told Ukraina 24 TV channel.
Read alsoKravchuk warns of retaliation in case of ceasefire violations by Russian proxiesAt the same time, Garmash did not rule out new escalation along the contact line in the east of Ukraine.
"[Russian envoy Boris] Gryzlov's statement, where he in advance accuses Ukraine of provoking escalation... That is, the escalation will be [caused] by the other side, but we are to blame for it in advance. This suggests there will be short-term – I hope 'short-term' – escalation at the front to intimidate the Ukrainian leaders and our Western partners, who do not want a military escalation, and force us into sitting down at the negotiating table directly with Donetsk and Luhansk. It seems to me this is exactly what everything is aimed at," the journalist added.
Latest developments in Donbas
- Earlier, the so-called "people's militia of the DPR" announced they allegedly "had obtained permission for pre-emptive fire to suppress the enemy's gun positions."
- Head of the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG Leonid Kravchuk said the relevant announcement was seen as Russia's possible withdrawal from the peace deal on Donbas.
- On March 4, Russian president Vladimir Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov claimed the Ukrainian side should remain a supporter of the Minsk agreements, and expressed "concern" about the rising tension along the contact line in Donbas.
- In this regard, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry called on Russia to stop shifting responsibility for the implementation of the Minsk agreements onto others.