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Kiev places stake on military solution to Donbass conflict, says Russian envoy

May 01, 8:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to Boris Gryzlov, the change in the format of the military operation in Donbass may not bring peace to the region

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Russia’s envoy to the Contact Group for Ukraine Boris Gryzlov

Russia’s envoy to the Contact Group for Ukraine Boris Gryzlov

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, May 1. /TASS/. Ukraine’s authorities have again placed their stake on resolving the conflict in Donbass militarily and Kiev does not have a plan for a political settlement, Russia’s envoy to the Contact Group for Ukraine Boris Gryzlov told TASS.

"The issue is not about the declared formats of using the armed forces or other groupings by Ukraine’s authorities, but about their announced stake on a military solution to the conflict in the country’s southeast. The major problem is the lack of any steps by Ukraine towards a political settlement," Gryzlov said.

The envoy recalled that for settling the conflict the sides should adhere to the so-called Steinmeier formula suggested by former German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and approved in the Normandy format (Russia, France, Germany, Ukraine). Under the formula, the elections should take place simultaneously with the introduction of a law on Donbass special status.

"It is vital to launch the process of providing Donbass with a special status under the Steinmeier formula and amnesty to the participants of the conflict on both sides," Gryzlov said.

However, the announcement by Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko about the beginning of a military operation will cause anxiety among the citizens of Donbass and will encourage further alienation of Donetsk and Lugansk from Ukraine," the Russian envoy said.

According to Gryzlov, the change in the format of the military operation in Donbass may not bring peace to the region.

"Russia, as a mediator in settling this conflict, also views this rhetoric as destructive and not encouraging peace," he said, noting that this rhetoric is aimed at Ukrainian nationalists who are influencing the current Kiev leadership.

"We hope that in fact this rhetoric won’t lead to the deterioration of the armed standoff and won’t affect the security of citizens in the conflict zone areas," he said.

Gryzlov also voiced hope that Kiev would fulfill its commitments under the Minsk peace deal. "Ukraine is constantly pledging that it is committed to the Minsk accords and other agreements under the Normandy format, and we hope that despite the bellicose call and the war paint, the Ukrainian leadership will ensure both the fulfillment of the current ceasefire and a step-by-step implementation of the Minsk agreements approved by the UN Security Council," he stressed.

New format of military operation

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko officially declared on Monday that the anti-terror operation in Donbass was completed and the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) kicked off.

The new game plan is expected to "bring drastic changes" to managing the military structure giving Ukraine’s army additional powers and control over units of the National Guard, the Security Services and the National Police. He appointed Sergei Nayev as the commander of the operation.

After the coup d’etat in February 2014, Ukraine’s new authorities failed to secure support of all citizens - Donbass opposed the policy towards severing ties with Russia.

The proposal to launch a campaign against citizens of eastern Ukraine was voiced by then-acting president Alexander Turchinov in April 7, 2014. The country’s forces were deployed to quash the protest in the region. The clashes between the army and Ukrainian nationalists with militias in Donbass by summer 2014 grew into full-scale combat actions with the use of military hardware and aviation.

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