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Ex-Ukrainian leader says adding new content to Minsk deal could be way to end conflict

January 07, 22:26 UTC+3 KIEV

According to Ukraine’s ex-president, a meeting between Ukraine’s and Russia’s leaders could be a major step towards the conflict settlement

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Ukraine’s first President Leonid Kravchuk

Ukraine’s first President Leonid Kravchuk

© AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov

KIEV, January 7. /TASS/. One possible way to settling the conflict in Donbass could be through adding the Minsk agreements with new content, Ukraine’s first President Leonid Kravchuk said on Sunday.

"How can we stop the war (the armed conflict in Donbass - TASS)? There are several ways… We can change or add other content to the Minsk format," he said in an interview with the 112 Ukraine TV channel.

Apart from that, according to Kravchuk, a meeting between Ukrainian and Russian leaders could be a major step towards settling the conflict. He said that such a meeting could tackle all aspects of the settlement except Ukraine’s territorial integrity, a subject the sides "will never be able to speak about."

The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine which is made up of senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog, the OSCE, on February 12, 2015, signed a 13-point Package of Measures to fulfil the September 2014 Minsk agreements. The package was agreed upon by the leaders of the Normandy Four, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.

The Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, envisaged a ceasefire between Kiev’s government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk starting from February 15 and a subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.

However, these agreements have not been implemented so far. The Ukrainian side has been dragging its feet on carrying out the package’s political provisions citing security as a reason. Kiev has failed to conduct constitutional reforms, to enforce a law on the region’s special status and to pass a law on elections in Donbass. Instead, it insists on regaining control over the border with Russia, which is to take place only after the elections, as is envisaged by the Minsk agreements.

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