Several thousand people demonstrated against the agreement on a special status for the contested areas in Donbass on Sunday in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. This is a capitulation and too much concession to Russia, the people chanted Ukrainian media according to the central Independence Square in the capital. The police in Kiev spoke of about 10,000 participants.
Previously, the conflicting parties in Minsk had agreed on the "Steinmeier formula" for Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. The formula, named after Federal President and former Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, regulates when these regions, which are renegotiated by the Ukraine, will receive special status.
- First, elections should be held there.
- On the day of the vote itself, a provisional special status should initially apply.
- As soon as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) classifies the elections as valid, the special status should also be enshrined in the Ukrainian constitution.
However, Russia and Ukraine interpret the solution differently.
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However, the "Steinmeier formula" caused massive criticism in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj, who has been in office since July, faces massive opposition pressure from the opposition. He announced that he would now prepare a new law for the status of Donbass, the previous one expires at the end of December. The "Steinmeier formula" should be incorporated into the new law.
Selensky said that local elections in Donbass would only take place if Russian and Russian-backed forces withdrew and Ukraine regained control of its eastern border. There will be "no elections under gunfire," Selenskyj said.
Since 2014, about 13,000 people have been killed in the war between government soldiers and pro-Russian separatists. Two Ukrainian soldiers were injured during weekend fighting, Ukrainian media reported.
Germany and France mediate in the conflict, but the peace plan is not really progressing. A new summit in the "Normandie format" - with Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia - could take place soon.