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US’s role in settlement in Donbass depends on Washington’s position — official

Dmitry Kozak noted that the Biden administration has generally stated its adherence to the Minsk Agreements
Kremlin Deputy Chief of Staff Dmitry Kozak Vitaly Nevar/TASS
Kremlin Deputy Chief of Staff Dmitry Kozak
© Vitaly Nevar/TASS

GENEVA, June 16. /TASS/. The US’s participation in negotiations on the settlement of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine could facilitate the process only if Washington’s position involves looking for answers to the emerging challenges "with a single human logic," Kremlin Deputy Chief of Staff Dmitry Kozak said Wednesday. 

"Everything depends on [Washington’s] position. If we try to find answers to all existing challenges within a single human logic, then yes. If there would be a sober and pragmatic approach to the implementation of the Minsk Agreements — then it would be good. But, as they say, a horrible end is better than a horror without end. We have even told this to Ukraine: ‘You don’t want the Minsk Agreement? State this in the UN Security Council. Present your proposals. Say what doesn’t work for your’," Kozak said, answering a question on the US’s participation in the talks.

He noted that the Biden administration has generally stated its adherence to the Minsk Agreements.

"If we speak about the resolution of the conflict, then, please, we’re up for it. When our European colleagues say that the solution must be found immediately because the Americans would intervene in the process, we say ‘welcome’," Kozak underscored.

No opportunity to influence Kiev to implement Minsk accords

Deputy Chief of Staff of the Russian Presidential Executive Office Dmitry Kozak has also said he sees no opportunity right now to influence Kiev to implement the Minsk agreements.

"I do not see [any opportunities as of now]. The latest negotiations were held on May 26. And Mr. Zelensky [Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky], in an interview with a German newspaper, complained about the Normandy format, Germany and France."

"When asked directly who is a party to the truce, [Zelensky] says that Ukraine and Russia should be the parties to the ceasefire agreement, while we believe that it should be Ukraine and representatives of certain districts [of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions], the way it was enshrined in the first clause of the ceasefire agreement reached on July 22 of last year," he added.

Representatives of Germany and France say, in turn, that they "lack the qualifications" to determine who the parties to the ceasefire are, he noted. According to Kozak, the foreign ministers and political advisers of the Normandy format countries say in response to proposals to initiate a meeting with the participation of heads of state, during which positions on the further settlement in Donbass will be outlined, that they "cannot do that."

"I said, ‘Do initiate the summit. Submit a draft statement on the issue to the Normandy format leaders that we are committed to the Minsk agreements and who the parties to the conflict are.’ It is a dead-end," Kozak noted.

Answering a question about the potential date of the new meeting of the Normandy Four political advisors, the official noted: "We were told: ‘we hope that our dialogue would continue under different circumstances.’ I believe that, by ‘different circumstances,’ they meant that we would meet here [in Geneva] and something would change," Kozak noted. "But what could change? We must at least agree on some single logic for the settlement of this conflict."

Earlier, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said he considers it necessary to involve the US in settlement of the conflict in Donbass, but noted that he is not ready to name the possible format yet.