Donetsk, Jun 6 - DAN. The meeting of the Contact Group for Donbass settlement which took place in Minsk on Wednesday for the first time after Ukraine elected the new president showed that Kiev was paying lip service to changing its position, Centre for Current Politics director Alexey Chesnakov said.

“As was predicted, Ukraine’s position remains essentially unchanged,” the Russian TASS news agency quoted him as saying. “Much was said about security, ceasefire and disengagement of forces like they had done before. Yet the political subgroup’s work was completely disrupted again. (Ukraine’s envoy to the Contact Group) Leonid Kuchma blocked the discussion of special status for Donbass. He acted likewise during Poroshenko’s presidency.”

“It clearly shows that Ukraine changed its position in the Contact group in words, but not in deeds,” the Russian expert said. “Rejoicing over a possible disengaged of forces in Stanitsa Luganskaya is misplaced. Ukraine had to carry it out back in 2016.  It is their duty, but they present it as a breakthrough as if they’re doing us a favour. Meanwhile, they do not mention Zolotoye and Petrovskoye, where the disengagement was foiled through their fault in gross violation of the decision made by the “Normandy Four” at the Berlin summit.”

“They promise to lift the Donbass economic blockade, but this is their duty, too. It was Ukraine that imposed the blockade in violation of the Minsk Agreements. So far, it is unclear how they are going to lift the blockade. It is a complicated issue; much remains vague.”

“Of course, disengagement and blockade lifting would be good things but special status for Donbass makes the basis of the settlement. The Contact Group has to address this core issue simultaneously with the review of economic and security issues. We can hardly believe it because Ukrainian representative Kuchma has publicly stated that Ukraine would not give special status to Donbass. Consequently, the new Kiev authorities will bypass and dodge the special status issue in all ways.

“With this approach, the Minsk process will be indefinite and never lead to the final settlement of the conflict,” the Centre for Current Politics director said. *jk