The territories of self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk must be subject to Ukrainian laws and their borders with Russia must be controlled by Ukrainian troops rather than international peacekeepers. In exchange, Kyiv is ready to provide the Donbas with certain autonomy – “some extended rights concerning humanitarian, economic and other matters,” the head of the parliamentary group of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc Yuri Lutsenko told Ukrainian TV on Sunday evening.
“We will never agree to some peacekeeping forces or half-Russian troops controlling the Ukrainian-Russian border. There will be no peace unless our state borders are controlled by our army and our national frontier service,” Lutsenko said.
He also said that the only possible concession concerning who will watch the territory of the Donbas is that it may be watched not only by Ukrainians but also “by some local residents.” “But this must be national guards and national interior ministry troops,” Lutsenko said.
“As soon as we regain control over our territory, all the other problems will be solved in due time. This is a matter of principle and here there can be no concessions,” Lutsenko said.
He added that those territories must hold local elections to be monitored by Ukraine and the OSCE.
Earlier Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that it is for a nationwide referendum to decide whether Ukraine should be a federation or whether some of its regions should be given autonomy. He is against the presence of any international peacekeepers in the Ukrainian territory. “Here we need no peacekeeping force. Simply, the borders must be closed and the troops must be withdrawn,” the Ukrainian President said in Munich on Saturday.
The Normandy four will meet again in Minsk on Feb 11 to further negotiate the conflict in Ukraine.