Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia face obstacles

RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 19 Oct 2019 by Alex Teddy

Despite the Steinmeier Formula peace talks between Russia and Ukraine are ongoing. Over 10 000 people protested against the formula in Kyiv on October 14. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that the negotiations in Normandy in November will be the final opportunity to implement the Minsk Agreement. He added that Russian soldiers and mercenaries must leave Donbass and Luhansk for the Steinmeier Formula to be valid. He also insisted on Ukrainian control of the border. Ukrainian troops and their enemies are both supposed to pull back from the front line and this has not happened. Talks have stalled on when this pullback will occur. Moscow could easily say its soldiers have left even if this is not true.The press secretary of Ukraine's envoy to the Trilateral Contact Group stated that the people's republics of Luhansk and Donbass must be dissolved for there to be peace. These demands seem unrealistic and are not in the Steinmeier Formula which even allows for a 'people's militia' to exist in Donbass and Luhansk. This hard line rhetoric is presumably aimed to burnish Zelensky's nationalist credentials when some Ukrainians are saying he has sold them down the Swanee.

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