KYIV, Feb 4 – President Petro Poroshenko on Monday criticized a recent new plan for peace in Donbas and defended implementation of Minsk agreements that call for Ukraine restoring full control over occupied territories.
The plan, recently drafted by Martin Sajdik, special OSCE representative on Ukraine crisis, called for sending a smaller UN peacekeeping force to Donbas along with an OSCE monitoring mission. The plan, which has not been approved yet, is aimed at replacing the Minsk agreements.
But Poroshenko said the Minsk agreements contain important goals and sufficient means for restoring peace in Donbas, and must be implemented by all parties.
"We are ready to consider any plans if they do not harm the sovereignty and national integrity, independence of our state,” Poroshenko said in an interview with ICTV. “I want to emphasize that this has been set out in the Minsk agreements.”
“I think Mr. Sajdik just has to read them and support,” Poroshenko said.
Also, sanctions imposed by the U.S. and by the European Union on Russia, are linked to the implementation of the Minsk agreements, so replacing them now may send wrong message to the aggressor.
“The sanctions against Russia are based on the Minsk agreements,” Poroshenko said, adding that a new package of sanctions is being drafted to respond to “the aggression in the Kerch Strait.”
The plan has to be approved by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France, a group known as the Normandy format, which has sought to ease tensions between Russia and Ukraine since June 2014.
However, Poroshenko’s criticism indicates that the plan will probably not get full support of Ukraine and will be rejected.
Sajdik, in an interview with an Austrian newspaper last month, was not optimistic about the Minsk agreements, which he said were not working.
He said the new plan was needed, and suggested sending a smaller contingent of UN peacekeepers to Donbas that will work closely with the OSCE mission.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last month said Donbas “will not surrender” to accept the UN peacekeepers. He urged Kyiv to directly engage in talks with rebels that Western powers and Ukraine believe are controlled by Moscow.
The idea to send the peacekeeping force to the occupied areas was originally suggested by Kurt Volcker, U.S. special envoy for Ukraine negotiations, as the first step in de-militarizing the region. (tl/ez)