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Natalia Nikonorova commented statements of Kiev on the members’ change of the Contact group

Kiev’s plans to change the Contact group composition, that completely contradict the very essence of Minsk process, aimed to put the warring parties at the negotiating table to resolve the conflict. If Kiev choose the persons for negotiation, then the whole process loses its meaning. Obviously, the Ukrainian authorities do not want to negotiate with the legitimate representatives of the Republics, who uphold the legitimate people’s interests, but instead plan to choose “talking heads” that will express a point of view convenient for Ukrainian party. They will not manage it. Neither we, nor the international mediators of the Minsk process, will allow a revision of the agreements approved by the UN Security Council resolution.

Instead of inventing new formats for negotiating in Minsk, attracting new participants and replacing existing ones, Ukraine should begin to fulfill its obligations under the Package of Measures. Kiev authorities openly declare that they will never grant the Republics a special status, trying to replace it with the concept of decentralization, and also openly lie about the conformity of their constitution with the provisions of the Package of Measuress.

Let me remind you that the Package of Measures provides for special status parameters that apply specifically to Donbass: linguistic self-determination, the powers of local authorities to appoint representatives of the prosecutor’s office and the courts, the ability to conclude agreements with Kiev on economic, cultural and social development, the opportunity to have our people's police, etc. This is precisely the features that Kiev must take into account when conducting constitutional reform to consolidate the special status of Donbass, in accordance with paragraph 11 of the Package of Measures.

The current draft of Ukraine does not and cannot contain such provisions, because it is intended for the entire territory of Ukraine. This is an attempt to replace concepts. Simply put - lie.

Mr. Ermak so vehemently insists on a change of Contact group composition on the part of Republics only because we demand dialogue from the Ukrainian party with our people, and not with the Russian Federation, which, like the OSCE, is a mediator in the negotiation process. So, first of all, amendments to the constitution should be agreed with us - the "hated" Republican representatives, and only after that a constitutional reform should be carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Package of Measures. It also concerns the holding of local elections, which the Ukrainian side intends to hold in the fall of 2020, simultaneously with other regions. We remind the Kiev authorities that according to the text of Steinmeier’s formula agreed by Mr. Ermak himself and signed by Mr. Kuchma, the elections in Donbass will be extraordinary and will not depend on the Ukrainian electoral cycle. Kiev’s unilateral actions only neutralize the small successes that have appeared in the Minsk process lately.