Kozak Announced a New Donbass Conflict Solving Mechanism

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The deputy head of the presidential administration Dmitry Kozak, who is now in charge on the Ukrainian direction, has announced the emergence of a new mechanism for resolving the conflict in the Donbass. According to him, the new dialogue platform will soon appear with the participation of representatives of the "Norman format" (Germany, Russia, Ukraine, France) and the parties to the conflict. After the Tripartite Contact Group meeting in Minsk on March 11, Mr. Kozak announced conclusion of agreements to create a “new mechanism of interaction to find political solutions to the conflict resolution” in eastern Ukraine. “We found decisions on settlement mechanisms, making decisions on the settlement,” the official said. He did not go into details. The new mechanism, said Mr. Kozak, "is a dialogue platform with the participation of the parties of the" Norman format "and the parties to the conflict." Dmitry Kozak noted that while “there is no need to talk more, we must carefully treat the agreements.” According to Dmitry Kozak, the mechanism in question is planned to be approved at the next meeting of the contact group: “Such a mechanism has been previously agreed actually, and I really hope that within the next meeting of the Contact group we will make a final decision on the mechanism of dialogue between the parties.” Commenting on the results of the meeting of the contact group, Dmitry Kozak said that a "constructive conversation was held with the participation of all interested parties." According to him, it was decided that within a week the negotiators would solve issues on which they could not reach a compromise previously. These include the issue of exchanging detained persons and identifying new areas for the separation of forces and assets of conflicting parties. The Kremlin official expressed hope that the exchange will be possible before the end of March. Dmitry Kozak took up the Ukrainian direction from Vladislav Surkov, who left the Kremlin, on March 11, together with the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, Andrey Yermak, were participants in the meeting of the Tripartite Contact Group (TAG). Officials of this level for the first time took part in the work of the TKG in Minsk. The breeding of forces in three new sectors and the exchange of retained persons according to the formula ““all determined persons for all determined persons” are in the list of decisions of the summit in the “Norman format”, which took place in Paris on December 9 after a three-year break. The new summit, which was supposed to be held in April, is determined by Moscow as the implementation of the decisions of the previous one. In addition to the exchange and withdrawal of forces, the results of the Paris meeting communiqué also include clearance of territories in the conflict zone, opening of new crossing points for civilians, coordination of the “legal aspects” of special status in Ukraine for certain districts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, implementation of the “formula Steinmeier ”(bears the name of the ex-Foreign Minister of Germany who proposed it, now President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier; assumes the entry into force of the law on the special status of Donbass pos to hold elections there, if the OSCE recognizes them as free and fair). Later, OSCE Special Representative Heidi Grau stated that the Donbass Contact Group had agreed to open two new border crossing points. According to her, the humanitarian working group focused on the exchange of held ones. At a meeting in Paris on December 9, the leaders of the "Norman Four" could not agree on a further settlement of the conflict in the Donbass. Russian and Ukrainian presidents Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky expressed opposing positions regarding the consolidation of a special status in the constitution for unrecognized DPR and LPR.