KIEV, December 1. /TASS/. Proposals voiced by certain Ukrainian politicians to reject the Minsk peace accords mean turning down some parts of the country as well as the people living there, Viktor Medvedchuk, a leader of the Ukrainian political party Opposition Platform - For Life, said on Saturday.
"It [Ukraine] might declare quitting the Minsk accords. Nevertheless, if they withdraw from that agreement but fail to enter another, it will mean their refusal from people and territories, which, under the Criminal Code, is breach of territorial integrity. Those are actions that make up a crime," he said in an interview released by 112 Ukraine TV channel.
Medvedchuk bashed Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadim Pristayko for his idea of Kiev’s potential exit from the Minsk agreements.
"Pristayko’s remarks contain signs of crime against the state, which he should be made accountable for. Time has come to assess the statements of Pristayko and many others who are standing up for a fence, for a wall, for refusal from territories and for refusal from people," the politician stressed.
No military solution
Military options aimed at retaking some areas in Donbass that are not currently controlled by Kiev will become a suicide for Ukraine, Medvedchuk continued.
Granting Donbass a special status could lay the foundation for the region’s reintegration, he believes.
"When we call for Donbass autonomy, we do not cross lines," he said in an interview released by 112 Ukraine television channel.
In this context, he firmly dismissed allegations voiced by some Ukrainian politicians that this status would turn into capitulation.
"Where is capitulation here?" he asked rhetorically. "If granting special status and providing opportunities is capitulation, it appears that there is only one solution left, which is a military operation to retake the territories," Medvedchuk continued.
"Those who are popularizing this step are suicidal. What is more, they neglect vital national interests," he stated.
The politician pointed out that the right to autonomy was enshrined in Ukraine’s constitution, the Minsk accords, the declaration of the Normandy Four leaders, and the resolution of the United Nations Security Council.
Minsk peace deal
Peace settlement of the conflict in Donbass rests on the Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, that was signed by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, after marathon 16-hour talks between the leaders of the Normandy Four nations, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine. The 13-point document envisages a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also lays out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including amnesty, resumption of economic ties, local elections and a constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.
The document was approved and supported in a joint declaration signed by the Russian, Ukrainian and French presidents and the German chancellor. In the declaration, they pledged to exert their influence over the sides in question so as to facilitate the implementation of the Package of Measures. Later, the Package of Measures was approved in Resolution 2202 of the United Nations Security Council, which urged all the concerned parties to ensure its full implementation.
Members of the Contact Group signed the "Steinemeier formula" outlining the mechanism for granting special status to Donbass at a meeting in Minsk on October 1. Later in the day, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said that the "Steinmeier formula" agreed on by the "Normandy Four" and the Contact Group would be integrated into the new law on a special status of Donbass. He noted that the current law on the region’s special status would be in effect until December 31, 2019, after which a new law drafted by the parliament after a discussion with the public would be passed.
Back in October 2014, Ukraine’s President Pyotr Poroshenko signed a law on self-governance in certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics, establishing a special status there for three years. However, the law was never implemented in Ukraine. In March 2015, Poroshenko violated the Minsk agreements, introducing amendments to the law, which actually halted its implementation. In early 2016, then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier proposed a mechanism to enact the Donbass special status law on a temporary basis on election day and on a permanent basis after the OSCE report on the outcome of the voting is made public.