Minister of Defense of Ukraine Andriy Zagorodniuk stated that Ukraine does not recognize occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions as the independent subjects of the negotiation process to resolve the situation in Donbas. He said this in an interview with Interfax.
"Another problem is that Russia denies the presence of its troops in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine in every possible way, claiming that the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) / Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) have political autonomy and freedom. We strongly disagree with it. We do not recognize this quazi-formation as an independent subject of the process,” Minister of Defense said.
He stressed that Ukraine has enough evidence to indicate the presence of Russian troops in Donbas. This information is transmitted to Ukraine's international partners.
"Withdraw the illegal armed formations, let them disarm, and then we return these territories under the constitutional order and legislation of Ukraine," Zagorodniuk explained Kyiv's position on the Russian-backed fighters in the Donbas.
As we reported earlier, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky discussed the extension of the mandate of the OSCE SMM in Donbas with OSCE Chairman Edi Rama as the President’s Office informed.
Zelensky also reminded that during the meeting in the Normandy Format in Paris on December 9, 2019, the sides agreed on a few positions toward OSCE SMM in Donbas to assist in achieving peace in this region. The issue is about round-the-clock work of the OSCE, mirror increase of the number of the observers in the territory controlled by Ukraine and in occupied territory and the access of the OSCE to the areas with no disengagement of forces.