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Ukrainian opposition politician unveils Donbass peace plan in European parliament

The presentation was attended by members of the European parliament from the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany

STRASBOURG, July 17. /TASS/. Chairman of the Political Council of Ukraine’s Opposition Platform - For Life party Viktor Medvedchuk presented a peace plan for the Donbass region in east Ukraine at a session of the European parliament on Wednesday.

The peace plan presentation was attended by members of the European parliament from the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany.

"The conceptual plan of the peaceful settlement in Donbass is also the result of my personal experience. I have been dealing with this issue since 2014," the Ukrainian politician said, adding that he had made numerous trips to Donetsk and Lugansk for talks actually since the beginning of the armed conflict.

"We held negotiations to establish dialogue through peace already at the early stage when there were still no dozens of thousands of victims. We failed in this effort because the authorities under [then-Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Alexander] Turchinov and [then-President of Ukraine Pyotr] Poroshenko were unwilling to seek peace, … not to use weapons and not to do what subsequently resulted in such victims," he said.

According to Medvedchuk, the peace plan stipulates that "it is necessary to return people, not the territories." "Today a situation has emerged, in which we can return people through their awareness, their understanding that we all must live in one country. Our party is the supporter of territorial integrity and we are providing possibilities to people to believe that their return will be successful and that efforts will be made to protect their rights and freedoms in Ukraine," the opposition politician said.

"This mechanism stipulates a direct dialogue between Kiev, Donetsk, Lugansk and Moscow," Medvedchuk pointed out.

Although this is an internal conflict, Moscow has big influence on the republics’ leadership, he specified.

"Most citizens of Ukraine want peace today. Polls of the past few years show that peace and the ceasefire are a top priority for 75-85% of the country’s population. Today this is the main thing that is expected from [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky and the parliament. This is what people are awaiting as they are going to vote at the July 21 elections," Medvedchuk said.

Peace plan proposed by the Opposition Platform - For Life Party

The plan for the peaceful settlement in the Donbass region put forward by the Opposition Platform - For Life Party was presented for the first time at the party’s congress in late January. The plan envisages stage-by-stage measures to create conditions for implementing the Minsk accords on the peaceful settlement. Specifically, the plan stipulates assigning a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (the DPR and the LPR) and creating the so-called Donbass autonomous region in the country’s east. For this purpose, the plan proposes making corresponding amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine and also adopting laws on elections on the territory of the republics and creating a free economic zone for a term of 10 years.

The party also insists on amnesty for the region’s residents and participants in the armed conflict similar to the law that protects participants in the protests in late 2013 and early 2014 that led to a change of power in Ukraine.

In order to assist and exercise control of the peaceful settlement process and set up bodies of power within the framework of Ukrainian law, the plan proposes creating the Coordination Center whose activity will be terminated after the leadership of the Donbass autonomous region is elected.