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'There is no surrender in it': Ukraine and Russia signed a peace plan for Donbass

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the approval of the "Steinmeier formula." What did they agree on and what awaits Ukraine in the future, writes with the BBC.

Photo: Official website of the President of Ukraine

Darka Olifer, the press secretary of the ex-President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine's representative in the trilateral contact group, posted on Facebook a letter explaining the "Steinmeier formula."

Leonid Kuchma's letter to OSCE Special Representative Martin Saidik says that Ukraine “accepts the text of the formula” that will be included in the law “On a special procedure for local self-government in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions” and which was agreed on September 11 by diplomats from Ukraine, France, Germany and Russia.

"The law comes into force at 20:00 local time on the day of voting in early local elections in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which are appointed and held in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine and a special Law of Ukraine, which regulates early local elections in the aforementioned areas." , - is noted in the “formula”.

It is noted that the law "on special order" will operate on a temporary basis at least until the day the OSCE mission report on the compliance of local elections in non-controlled areas with democratic standards and Ukrainian legislation, and if such elections are recognized, it will continue to operate in the future.

Screenshot: Facebook / Dark Olifer

On October 1, President Zelensky announced the approval of the so-called "Steinmeier formula."

According to him, it should be implemented in the new law on special status, there is no “surrender” in it.

Separatist position

Separatist leaders Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik today issued a joint statement stating that Ukraine will not gain control over the border, and they will determine the election dates in regions not controlled by the Ukrainian authorities.

“We call on Mr. Zelensky not to dictate conditions to us. When he says that the elections in Donbass will be held only after Ukraine gains control over the border, he does not understand that it is not for him to decide when the elections are held, but to us, ”the message says.

“The Kiev authorities will not receive any control over the border,” the separatist leaders note.

Pushilin and Pasechnik note that on October 1, Ukraine signed the Steinmeier formula, which guarantees Donbass a special status.

“Thus, she recognizes the special right of the people of Donbass to independently determine their fate,” the separatists believe.

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In their joint statement, Pushilin and Pasechnik argue that the adoption of the formula means recognition of the separatists' right to decide what will be the economy, judiciary, power structures in the territories not controlled by the Ukrainian government, as well as "how we will integrate with Russia."

Separatist leaders also require Zelensky to negotiate directly with them and coordinate changes to the law on special status.

“Otherwise, we will consider them a direct and gross violation of the Minsk agreements, and they will be legally null and void for us,” they say.

Formula Harmonization

According to Zelensky, "Steinmeier's formula" is a "horror story" with which the Ukrainians have been intimidated for a long time, but in fact it is about "one or two sentences."

“This is the approval of a temporary law on the special status of Donbass, which begins to operate on a permanent basis after the publication of the OSCE report that the elections were held according to democratic standards,” Zelensky explained.

“There are no elections at gunpoint and cannot be. It is understandable that if we are talking about democratic elections, there cannot be people with machine guns, ”the president added.

According to him, the formula should be implemented in a new law on special status, which will be developed in the near future - "in public discussion with the public."

“In this law, we will not cross a single line, there will be no surrender,” Zelensky assured.

Moscow insisted on agreeing on the formula for a long time - without this, the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky in the format of the Normandy Four was called impossible.

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The Russian media published a document, which they call the Steinmeier formula, and which are signed by OSCE Special Representative Martin Saidik, Ukraine's representative to the Contact Group Leonid Kuchma, Russia's representative to the Contact Group Boris Gryzlov, as well as representatives of ORDLO Natiliya Nikonorov and Vladislav Deinogo.

This document states that “early local elections” should be held in the uncontrolled areas in accordance with the “Constitution of Ukraine and a special law of Ukraine”.

But the chairman of the Rada's foreign policy committee, a deputy from Servant of the People, Bogdan Yaremenko, said on Facebook that “no one signed anything yesterday.”

"The representative of Ukraine in the TCG Leonid Kuchma informed OSCE representative Martin Saidik in writing that Ukraine is satisfied with the wording agreed by the advisers of the heads of state of the Normandy format in Minsk on September 1, 2019," he said.

According to him, we are talking about the features of the local elections in the ORDLO, all other issues remain the subject of negotiations.

“The results will be implemented not by changes in the Constitution, but by the laws of Ukraine adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (which gives society the ability to control what is happening),” the deputy notes.

"There are more questions than there were"

Former Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin, commenting on the President's speech, noted that there are more questions on the "Steinmeier formula" than there were before.

“The Steinmeier formula does not make any sense without being embedded in an action plan, that is, a roadmap. There are more questions than there were. Society will demand answers to them. Those who do not solve the problem of the occupation of Donbass at the expense of Ukraine, ”Klimkin said.

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“For everyone else, even our friends, this is a problem that needs to be solved. For us, it is a question of our existence as a united and conciliar state, ”the ex-minister adds.

The Golos party published a statement on its website demanding a closed meeting of the Council, during which Volodymyr Zelenskyy must explain the details of the Steinmeier formula agreement.

The statement says that it is impossible to understand exactly what agreements were reached in Minsk with the announced information.

Controversial formula

Over the past weeks, the plan or formula of Franco Walter-Steinmeier - now the President of Germany, and before that - the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany - has been the cause of heated disputes among Ukrainian politicians - mainly through different interpretations of its content.

According to one version, the Steinmeier plan provides that after the OSCE recognizes the elections in Donbass as legitimate, it is proposed to amend the Constitution and consolidate the special status of Donbass. Only after this is it planned to withdraw troops from Ukrainian territory and establish Ukraine’s control over the border.

Critics of this scenario insisted that the security-related part of the Minsk agreements should be implemented first, and only then the political one. That is, the withdrawal of troops and control over the border should precede the elections and the discussion of the status of Donbass.

Former representative of Ukraine in the political subgroup at the negotiations of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) Roman Bessmertny published a document called "Implementation" of Steinmeier's formula "into Ukrainian legislation" - it was supposedly it was planned to sign it in Minsk.

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The document published by the Immortal refers mainly to the fact that the elections in Donbass should be recognized by the OSCE as held in accordance with international standards and Ukrainian legislation.

There is no mention of security policy regarding the Minsk Agreements, in particular, the withdrawal of troops, in a document circulated by Mr. Immortal.

Approval of the "Steinmeier formula" could have occurred as early as September 18, but on that day the formula was not agreed. Foreign Minister Vadim Prystaiko said this was due to a “technical misunderstanding”. In addition, the Ukrainian side expressed comments on the text of the document.

The press secretary of Ukraine's representative in the TCG Leonid Kuchma, Darka Olifer, then stated that the implementation of the "Steinmeier formula" is possible only if the following conditions are met:

“Complete cease-fire, ensuring effective monitoring of the OSCE SMM throughout Ukraine; withdrawal of armed formations, foreign troops and military equipment from the territory of Ukraine, disengagement of forces and equipment along the entire contact line, ensuring the work of the Central Election Commission of Ukraine, Ukrainian political parties, media and foreign observers, establishing control over the section of the Russian-Ukrainian border not controlled by Ukraine and other points stipulated by Ukrainian and international legislation and the Minsk agreements, ”Olifer wrote.

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