Trilateral Contact Group to discuss Ukraine’s Donbass conflict

Negotiators from Kiev, Moscow and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe will meet in Minsk today under the

Ukraine Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Negotiators from Kiev, Moscow and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe will meet in Minsk today under the Trilateral Contact Group to continue negotiations over the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine’s Donbass province.

Ukrainian pro-government forces and Russia-backed separatists entered into a ceasefire on July 27, but the agreement broke down within hours following a separatist assault on Ukrainian government forces. Since then, Kiev claims that shootings have been sporadic across the contested eastern province. However, international reporters recorded no ceasefire violations within a daily reporting period for the first time on August 8.

Negotiators today are expected to return to the ceasefire agreement and take measures to ensure its reinforcement. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has expressed willingness to show flexibility on a key point of contention—giving Donbass a special, semi-autonomous legal status after local elections are held and Russian-backed forces withdraw. Should Moscow consent to Zelensky’s proposal, a better-observed ceasefire could be achieved at significant expense to Ukraine’s legal claim over the unlawfully governed province. A resolution to the Donbass dispute will only prevent future Russian encroachment upon Ukrainian sovereignty if Kiev maintains complete control over Donbass at the negotiating table with continued and steadfast international support.

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