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30 Mar, 2021 14:19

Since Zelensky became Ukrainian president, discussions on peace in war-torn Donbass haven’t advanced ‘one iota,’ laments Kremlin

Since Zelensky became Ukrainian president, discussions on peace in war-torn Donbass haven’t advanced ‘one iota,’ laments Kremlin

There has been no progress at all in implementing the Donbass peace deal since Volodymyr Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine in 2019, and Kiev considers the Minsk agreement to be unenforceable, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

Speaking to newspaper Argumenty i Fakty, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov lamented the failures of the Normandy Format talks between France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, which were aimed at resolving the war in Donbass.

The group was created in 2014, but there has only been one meeting since Zelensky’s election, and the Kremlin believes there has been no progress made.

In particular, Peskov noted how Ukraine believes the Minsk Protocol, a 2014 peace deal, is dead. It was signed by representatives of Kiev, Moscow, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), as well as leaders of the separatist forces in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

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“Things are not going well with the Normandy format,” Peskov told the newspaper. “We can state that under President Zelensky it has not been possible to advance one iota.”

The Kremlin spokesman also slammed Kiev’s “dangerous” rhetoric that current agreements are unenforceable, and new ones are needed.

“Anyway, reaching new agreements is impossible, because how can one resolve a conflict if one side does not want to communicate with the other?” he asked.

The conflict is taking place in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine, where a civil war has raged for almost seven years. Separatists now control large swathes of land and have declared themselves to be independent of Kiev.

While Russia does not recognize these breakaway states, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of supporting them.

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In recent weeks, there have been increasing reports of shelling across the contact line, with some worrying that the conflict may break out into something more serious. According to Peskov, Moscow wants to solve the issue, but Ukraine won’t come to the table.

“With our colleagues from Berlin and Paris, we are trying to find a way out of this vicious circle,” he said. “But it is very difficult to talk to Kiev.”

Its legalization also came with other regulations, including requirements for owners, such as the obligation for Russian officials to declare if they have any digital assets, alongside the traditional currency they own.

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