In January and February 2020, there were three negotiating days in Minsk. In an interview with a correspondent of the DPR Official Website, Minister of Foreign Affairs Natalya Nikonorova commented on the results of the Trilateral Contact Group’s meetings in Minsk this year.

“Unfortunately, nothing new has happened. Ukraine’s intentions remain mere statements. The last round of the meetings was quite intense, regarding all fields, at that. The most active discussion took place in the humanitarian field. All other fields are also being stalled. Even the statements Ukraine issued on the media are not true, that one more area for the withdrawal of forces allegedly had been agreed upon. We worked very hard, but nevertheless, the positions did not converge to agree on any area for the withdrawal of forces and equipment.

Regarding political issues, the possibility of enshrining the special status is also being discussed just barely. For that matter, providing any positions, projects on legal aspects of the special status of Donbass is directly instructed by the leaders of the Normandy format. Moreover, they singled out an entire paragraph in their joint communique specifically for political issues. However, there has been no progress in this direction so far.

A small step in this direction is that representatives of Ukraine promised to provide a kind of presentation on the legal aspects of the special status at the upcoming meetings. But we have repeatedly seen the promises of the Ukrainian side, everything will depend on how they are fulfilled.

The group on economic issues discussed the operation of Voda Donbassa Public Utilities Company. So far, many questions arise about stabilizing the work of this company. ICRC representatives also discussed the possibility of an international audit. But we should not expect that everything will be settled in the nearest future.

The results of the last meeting are similar to all the three meetings. We see that the direct instructions from the leaders of the Normandy format are not being fulfilled at the pace that we expected, drawing on public statements of the Ukrainian side. The process is still being dragged out,” Natalya Nikonorova stated.