“We have much more common interests than causes of discord”
Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Russia and Kremlin negotiator for Donbass Dmitry Kozak gave a great interview to a French magazine international politics, in which he made a number of statements on the settlement of the armed conflict in the East of Ukraine and on the implementation of the Minsk agreements. The text of the interview was published on the website of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in France.
The first question from a journalist international politics Natalia Rutkevich was about the purpose for which Russia pulled troops to the Ukrainian border in the spring of this year and whether it was a response to Kiev’s actions.
“There was no” response to Kiev’s actions. ” There was a planned annual check of the practical combat readiness of the Russian Armed Forces after the autumn-winter training period. The exercises were held throughout the Russian Federation from the Far East to Kaliningrad. The violent international reaction to these exercises, sometimes balancing on the brink of military hysteria, was clearly excessive, ”
– said Dmitry Kozak.
At the same time, he is sure: if suddenly in Kiev they decide to start full-scale military actions and resolve the conflict by force, this will have “devastating consequences” for Ukraine, and the reason for these consequences will not be external interference, but “the internal political situation in Ukraine.”
Also, the deputy head of the Russian presidential administration does not exclude the possibility that Russia will be forced to defend its citizens in the event that “The situation will acquire all the signs of genocide”…
“If those who are organizing openly nationalist military actions on the streets of Kiev“ run the show ”in the conflict zone, it will become a tragedy. It is obvious that not only Russia, but the entire world community will not be indifferent to it, ”
– Dmitry Kozak noted.
He believes that the alternative to the Minsk agreements “Hypothetically exists” and there are a lot of options – from concluding new agreements to abandoning previous agreements. However, for this it is necessary to come up with an appropriate initiative, and either representatives of the Donbass republics or Kiev can make proposals. There are no such offers yet, “The Minsk agreements remain the only political and legal basis for a peaceful settlement of the conflict”… All the same, statements by Ukrainian officials and politicians about the “disadvantage of the Minsk agreements for Ukraine” and statements that Kiev will not comply with them are not official. To do this, first it is necessary to withdraw Ukraine’s signatures under the Minsk Agreements, then initiate a revision of the UN Security Council resolution.
Dmitry Kozak is sure that the conflict in the east of Ukraine can be resolved within one year, for this only Kiev’s sincere desire to end the war is needed. And the first step is to agree on the conditions of conflict-free coexistence in the future.
“Once such an agreement is reached, the parties quite easily agree on the termination of any unfriendly actions in relation to each other,”
– the negotiator from the Russian Federation on Donbass is sure.
However, Kiev does not want not only to talk about future coexistence, but also simply to speak with the authorities of the Donbass republics, calling them “Kremlin puppets,” he said.
As for the Russian aid to Donbass, it is there, but only humanitarian, without it the inhabitants of Donbass simply would not have survived in the conditions of the blockade by Ukraine. The absence of the Russian military in Donbass was officially confirmed by the head of the OSCE mission E. Apakan at a meeting of the UN Security Council back in 2019.
“And all the demagogy that the separatists are supposedly our puppets has only one goal: to question the agreements signed in Minsk in order to raise the idea of the possibility of a non-political settlement of the conflict, its resolution by military means or by economic strangulation of one of the parties,”
– Dmitry Kozak thinks.
He recalled that today many residents of Donbass have received Russian passports. The decision to issue passports in a simplified manner was made in response to the blockade of Donbass as a humanitarian measure and cannot be considered as an instrument of including the LPNR into Russia. Because the citizens of the rest of the territory of Ukraine receive Russian citizenship in the same way – from 2016 to 2020, 978 thousand citizens of Ukraine received Russian citizenship.
The deputy head of the Russian presidential administration noted with regret the inconsistent position of the European Union regarding the implementation of the Minsk agreements. On the one hand, everyone confirms “adherence to the Minsk agreements,” and on the other, they do not in fact recognize the Donbass republics as a party to the conflict, which in no way contributes to the establishment of peace in Donbass.
As for the current president of Ukraine, who won the election thanks to promises to end the war, by early 2020 it became clear that Kiev would not be able to withstand radical forces demanding a continuation of the war. And today, Zelensky’s position is no different from Poroshenko’s.
Nevertheless, Dmitry Kozak believes that normal relations can be established between Russia and Ukraine, as well as between Ukraine and Donbass.
“A common centuries-old history, culture, moral values originating from a common religion, tens, and maybe hundreds of millions of blood ties. This is all for the sake of which compromises can and should be found at the state level in order to remove the artificial barriers separating people. Over time, the Crimean issue will cease to cause passion. In the end, to live in peace in one space without borders is the natural desire of almost 200 million people who, due to the zigzags of history, found themselves literally in a divided family. But believe me that even today there are many more points of positive contact and common interests than causes of discord, ”
– Dmitry Kozak is sure.
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