Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says the Minsk agreements on Donbas settlement should be "more flexible."
"We all understand today that we have only the Normandy [Four] format and that we're moving along the Minsk [talks] direction. We understand that the players in the Minsk process are us and the Russian Federation, and we're grateful to the OSCE mediation on this difficult path," Zelensky told BBC's HardTalk.
However, Zelensky notes, the first main point was to ensure sustainable ceasefire.
"I believe that this point has been fulfilled as of today,” he said.
Read also Zelensky says believes peace deal with Putin possible "As for things, words coming from the Kremlin… I see what this is being done for, but I'd like to tell you that we are ready to go along the Minsk direction. As for the disagreements that both our public and I have, as regards what Mr. [Petro] Poroshenko had signed, indeed, they do exist, and everyone knows this – both Ms Merkel and Putin… I have repeatedly and openly told him: no, there will be conditions, there will be special conditions, the law on special status – these are changes to the Constitution in line with decentralization. This all should be in place, I agree, but the changes to the Constitution that they want – they are impossible today," Zelensky stressed.
According to the president, the handover of the uncontrolled section of the Russian-Ukrainian border to the Ukrainian authorities after the elections in the occupied areas would be a "wrong" sequence of events.
"We cannot ensure the holding of elections there. None of the observers will come. Who will come to that region and hold elections there while there are armed people there. Everyone understands this. But we are walking along the Minsk path. There's a thing: Minsk [deal] needs to be a little more flexible. You should understand that time has passed..." Zelensky stressed.
Latest ceasefire in Donbas: Background
- Participants in the Trilateral Contact Group (Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE) on the peace settlement in Donbas on July 22 agreed on a full and comprehensive ceasefire along the contact line from 00:01 on Monday, July 27.
- The new ceasefire regime was enforced at 00:01 Kyiv time on July 27.
- On the very first day of the newly-agreed truce, Russia's hybrid military forces mounted three attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donbas, eastern Ukraine. Ukraine has reported more such violations over the latest period.