2 October 201922:39

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to Channel One questions Sochi, October 2, 2019

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Question: There is some concern that President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky is not always capable of going the whole way to fulfil his obligations. Is there a Plan B regarding the Minsk Agreements?

Sergey Lavrov: There cannot be any Plan B. The Minsk Agreements is the foundation on which everything else must be built. On the practical side, the Steinmeier Formula is a compromise solution compared to the original text of the Minsk Agreements approved by the UN Security Council. Under the original text, a law on the special status and its formalisation in the Constitution must precede the elections.

This is logical, because when people go to polling stations to cast their votes they want to know what powers their candidates will have if elected. When we discussed the need for acting in accordance with this sequence, former President Petr Poroshenko said at a Normandy format meeting that he could not grant a special status because he did not know who would be elected. This is an absolutely confrontational and counterproductive approach. Moreover, it contradicts the law. The then Foreign Minister of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, proposed his compromise formula. In other words, the law is to be adopted and to come into force temporarily when the polling stations close on the voting day and permanently after the OSCE confirms in its final report that the voting was free and fair. It is a compromise and a concession. Therefore, there will be no shift from the fundamental Minsk principles, such as amnesty, a special status sealed in the Constitution, disengagement, full resumption of economic ties, and the lifting of the blockade, which completely contradicts the Minsk Agreements. All of these provisions must remain intact, because nothing will work out without them.

Question: When can a Normandy format meeting be held?

Sergey Lavrov: This is for the presidents to decide.

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