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The President's Office says they are "struck by personal assessments and comments" by First Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian delegation to the Minsk Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Donbas Vitold Fokin on the war in Donbas and Crimea.
According to the President's Office, those representing the government should prioritize state interests over personal beliefs.
"Everyone who represents the state should always remember the official stance should not be confused with the personal one. If there is a difference in positions, and your own vision, whatever it may be, differs from that of the government, you need to choose the government's one as long as you represent it. Not a personal, but namely a government vision," the President's Office reported on Facebook.
Read also Russian armed forces' military aggression only factor leading to Ilovaisk tragedy – prosecutor's office It was with the Russian invasion that the occupation of Crimea began, as well as of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the Office recalls.
"This is the country that fully controls the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and has a decisive influence on everything that is happening there," the President's Office said.
At the same time, the statement said nothing about Fokin's further participation in delegation's work.
"Of course, Vitold Fokin's statements, which are categorically at variance with the official positions of the government, have already been properly assessed – first of all, by the public who have paid a great price for their ideals. It is impossible not to understand this," reads the report.
Reactions to Fokin's controversial statement
Vitold Fokin, the first prime minister of Ukraine who is now deputy chair of Ukraine's delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group on Donbas settlement, says he "does not see" a war between Ukraine and Russia ongoing in the country's east; that he believes that mercenaries from 30 countries have been fighting against the Ukrainian Army; and that he is convinced a comprehensive pardon is needed for those who committed crimes in Donbas. The statements came as he was doing a Q&A at a Parliament Committee on Tuesday, September 29. It took Fokin several weeks to report to Parliament to clarify his position after a notorious interview he gave to one of the pro-Russian outlets.
Read also NSDC chief on Ukrainian negotiators' notorious statements: "Own opinions" All committee members, with the exception of those from the pro-Russian Opposition Platform – For Life Party, backed a motion asking President Volodymyr Zelensky to recall Fokin from the Ukrainian delegation at Minsk talks.
The official position of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group was announced by Head of the delegation, Leonid Kravchuk, his first deputy Oleksiy Reznikov, and deputy Oleksandr Merezhko, who said: "Mr. Fokin, like any person, has the right to his own position, no matter how strange it may seem. But being part of the Ukrainian delegation at the negotiations with the TCG, we must adhere exclusively to the official position of our government, even when we do not participate in talks."
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, in turn, posted an emotionally charged response to criticize Fokin's statement. "[Mr.] Fokin, thousands of our soldiers and civilians were killed in the war, which, as you claim, isn't there. Tell this to the families of those who died from Russia's multiple rocket launchers near Saur-Mohyla and Ilovaisk!? You scoundrel. 'They aren't there' – these are the words of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, rather than those of Ukraine representative," the minister said.
Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Serhiy Kryvonos dubbed Fokin a 'senile, blind fool.'
Head of the Ukrainian President's Office Andriy Yermak said Fokin "must resign" over his controversial statements.