KIEV, June 3. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has appointed ex-President of the country Leonid Kuchma Ukrainian representative to the Contact Group on peaceful settlement in Donbass.
"On June 5, a regular meeting of the Contact Group will take place in Minsk, the Ukrainian delegation will be headed by Leonid Kuchma," he said at a joint briefing with Kuchma in Kiev.
Zelensky said that he had held meetings with foreign partners on the settlement in Donbass. "I have met with the partners from the United States and the European Union, we discussed the issue of ceasefire. We have a unified stance on the Normandy format and how to unblock the Minsk process," the President said. "We have specific proposals and new solution for Donbass, however, no one will be trading the territory and sovereignty of Ukraine," he underlined.
Kuchma quit the post of the Ukrainian representative to the Contact Group in autumn 2018, but now said that he could not but agree to Zelensky’s proposal. "I am used to making decisions, implementing them and being responsible for them. Today’s meeting with the Ukrainian President shows that I have the opportunity to make a contribution," he said, warning that he does not want to play a decorative role.
"If we are making decisions there, then they should be implemented in Ukraine so that we are not just being present there (in the group - TASS)," he underlined.
Second Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma stood at the origins of the Contact Group as a format to reach settlement in the Donbass Region. He attended the very first, semiofficial meeting that took place on June 23, 2014 in Donetsk. The Minsk format had taken its current shape by the autumn that year, when the first document package on the settlement in Donbass was signed on September 5 following consultations in Minsk. Leonid Kuchma signed it on Ukraine’s behalf.
In the autumn of 2018, Kuchma said he was leaving the Contact Group, explaining that this "decision he had made long ago." "I decided to do that once and for all that at some point you need to stop," Kuchma underlined.
According to him, the meetings in Minsk are taking their toll on him, primarily in the physical sense. "When I arrive, it takes me two days to rest afterwards. The discussions are very complicated, especially when you know that there’s no result," the ex-President stressed.
At the same time, Kuchma said that he would not want to "analyze the complete set of reasons which prompt" him to quit.
After his resignation, until recently the former Ukrainian Prime Minster and ex-Defense Minister Yevgeny Marchuk headed the Ukrainian delegation to the Contact Group.