A statement on the new plan was made the day before by Andriy Yermak, the head of the President's Office, noting that the document was already on the table, awaiting its approval by Russia. Russian Federation, however, claims that this is the first time they hear about such an initiative.
We figure out what this new plan is and at the same time remember its predecessors, who have remained on paper to this day.
The head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak made a statement on a new peace plan to end the war in Donbas on March 9 during an online discussion on "Conflict in Eastern Ukraine: Prospects for 2021".
Based on his words, the document was proposed by France and Germany (countries participating in the "Normandy format"), finalized by Ukraine and is now awaiting approval from the Russian Federation.
"If Russia today declares its readiness to end the war, reintegrate the occupied territories in Ukraine, return our citizens, then this will meet all the criteria... We are waiting for the position of Russia," Yermak said.
What exactly is spelled out in the document is still unknown. The head of the OP clarified only that the plan at this stage consists of the so-called clusters - "logical steps that correspond to the spirit and principle of the Minsk agreements, as well as international law."
If agreed, they will become the basis for the Roadmap for establishing peace in Donbas, reintegrating the occupied territories, and holding local elections there.
Yermak expressed hope that the document will be brought up for discussion in a week or two during a videoconference in the "Normandy format".
Oleksiy Arestovich, Information Policy Advisor to the Ukrainian delegation in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on resolving the situation in Donbas, added that the new plan will be presented by the end of March. He also stated that the details of this initiative have not yet been disclosed.
At the same time, Serhiy Harmash, a member of the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG, said on the air of the Ukraine 24 TV channel that neither he nor the other members of the delegation had seen the "Yermak plan" yet.
“Unfortunately, I have not seen this plan. As of last week, I have not seen a person in the delegation who would have seen it ... We know that it is different from the plan presented by Kravchuk, which we are discussing in the TCG. This week we learned from Yermak's speech that this plan is over. This, in fact, cannot be called a plan, these are proposals for clusters - a number of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements," Harmash said.
He recalled that Ukraine at the talks within the TCG continues to insist on considering its proposals, known as the "Kravchuk plan." In turn, Russia insists on discussing the Donbas plan. Let's dwell on this in more detail.
As can be seen from the unspoken title of this document, it was proposed by the head of the Ukrainian delegation, Leonid Kravchuk.
The Joint Steps Plan contains a proposal to completely end the conflict and demilitarize certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions at the beginning of 2021 in order to create all the necessary conditions for holding local elections there on March 31, 2021.
The document also contains a clause on the cancellation by the authorities of the Russian Federation of a number of decisions and documents that are direct interference in the life of occupied Donbas (for example, on a simplified procedure for granting residents of these territories Russian citizenship).
In November last year, the political subgroup of the TCG began discussing the "Kravchuk plan", but at the end of the month, at a regular meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group, Russia supported the action plan for Donbas, proposed by representatives of occupied Donbas.
It was presented in early 2019 by OSCE Special Representative Martin Sajdik and received a mixed reaction in Ukraine (at least some of its points).
The document includes cooperation between the UN and the OSCE under the leadership of the so-called special representative, as well as the creation of the Agency for Reconstruction, which should cooperate with the UN and the OSCE, but not be under the joint leadership of the special representative.
In addition, the Sajdik plan includes a temporary administration and amnesty.
The reaction of the Russian Federation to the Yermak plan: "We hear for the first time"
The press secretary of the leader of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov, reacting to the words of Yermak, said that he had no information about the existence of a new peace plan in Donbas.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Rudenko made a similar statement.
"What is the peace plan? We do not know anything about the peace plan proposed by France and Germany. This is the first time I hear it," he said.
The Kremlin believes that the implementation of the previously reached agreements on the Donbas would be the best preparation for a meeting between the presidents of Russia and Ukraine.