Donbass Conflict Must Not Become Permanent – Leonid Kuchma

Donbass Conflict Must Not Become Permanent – Leonid Kuchma
12 September 2015

The former president of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma (1994-2005) called upon the global community for swift action to prevent the crisis in eastern Ukraine from turning into a permanent conflict, today at the 12th Yalta European Strategy (YES) Annual Meeting in Kyiv.

"We should be setting off alarm bells to prevent the soft-pedalling of what is going on in Ukraine,” declared Kuchma. “Some would want this to happen. We hear the voices of those directly participating in the Normandy format talks. We are worried! The whole situation is moving in the direction of making this a frozen conflict with neither peace, nor war. This meets the interests of our neighbour, above all.” 

In addition to serving as president one decade ago, Kuchma currently holds the title of member of the trilateral contract group on a Donbass settlement. He added that because around 9,000 Russian servicemen and military hardware were still in Ukraine's east, the Western society was now paying much less attention to the conflict, complaining about losses incurred as a result of sanctions against Russia. 

"I understand the pressure of business, say, in Germany, but I would like to stress just how much Ukraine and the West as a whole are spending?" he said. In addition, the president recalled that this year Ukrnian exports to Russia down by 60 per cent. 

He added that he would be happy to see all countries which guaranteed Ukraine's territorial inviolability under the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances join the process of settling the Donbass conflict. 

"It is often said now in Ukraine that the Normandy format is not enough. It is indeed so, Ukraine would primarily like to see all the countries which signed the Budapest Memorandum get involved, including the USA and Great Britain. I would also add the People's Republic of China as it has also committed to ensure the territorial integrity of Ukraine after it gave up nuclear weapons," he said. 

He insisted it was important for Ukraine to restore full control over its border in line with the Minsk agreements.

"The plan was to guarantee this with the help of a U.N. peacekeeping mission because the Ukrainian-Russian border should remain so. We are well aware of potential consequences of having no control over 600 km of the border. You understand what processes are taking place there!" he concluded with emotion.

The 12th Yalta European Strategy Annual Meeting will be streamed live at as well as web-sites of the Media Partners in English and Ukrainian.

The official Twitter of the 12th YES Annual Meeting is @yes_ukraine, and participants and followers can include the hashtag: #YESUkraine2015.

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Christopher Pincher
Christopher Pincher
Minister of State for Europe, United Kingdom, 16th YES Annual Meeting, 2019
«Russia’s attempt to play the strongman and imprison Ukraine in its supposed ‘sphere of influence’ harks back to a very unhappy and dark age that we all thought had been consigned to the history books.»