MINSK, October 1. /TASS/. Ukraine’s signing of the Steinmeier formula opens up a possibility for speeding up the Donbass reconciliation process but a lot still remains to be done, head of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) foreign ministry and head of the LPR’s delegation to the Contact Group for settlement in eastern Ukraine Vladislav Deinego said on Tuesday.
"Signing the formula is the first step towards political settlement," Deinego told reporters after the Contact Group meeting in Minsk. "It is a starting point for creating the conditions for political settlement."
"First and foremost, this means making changes to the Ukrainian constitution, adopting a special election law, resolving the issue of amnesty," he explained. "This means cancelling all Ukrainian laws that contradict the obligations that Ukraine has undertaken during the Minsk process — there is a lot of work ahead of us."
"The main thing is that the Steinmeier formula has been signed by five participants in the negotiation, its approval was documented in writing, and now, this mechanism is going to be launched," the LPR envoy concluded.
During a meeting on Tuesday, all members of the Contact Group for settlement in eastern Ukraine signed the Steinmeier formula, Russian envoy to the group Boris Gryzlov said after the meeting.
In late 2015, then-German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier put forward a plan that later became known as the "Steinmeier formula." The plan stipulates that a special status be granted to Donbass in accordance with the Minsk Agreements. In particular, the document envisages that Ukraine’s special law on local self-governance will take effect in certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions on a temporary basis on the day of local elections, becoming permanent after the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) issues a report on the vote’s results. The idea was endorsed at the Normandy Four meeting in Paris on October 2, 2015, and has been known as the Steinmeier formula since.
However, in the wake of the formula’s endorsement, Kiev began to put forward additional conditions for its implementation. Only after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky assumed office, the Ukrainian government agreed to continue the discussion of the formula. In September, aides to the Normandy Four leaders agreed that the text of the Steinmeier formula must be approved by all members of the Contact Group as a first step towards stage-by-stage implementation of other points of the Minsk Agreements and as part of the preparations for the new meeting between leaders of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France.