Russia is dissatisfied with Ukraine's intention to include into negotiations of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) displaced persons who were forced to leave the territories of the Donbas which are not under Kyiv’s control, reports the Russian newspaper Kommersant with reference to a source in the Russian government.
Earlier, the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office Andrii Yermak announced Kyiv’s intention to include internally displaced persons in the TCG talks. The Ukrainian side is not satisfied that only members of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics participate in the negotiations.
Kommersant's source believes that if the representatives of the Donbas, which Kyiv intends to select, are indeed brought in as opponents to the current negotiators from DPR and LPR, it will "just destroy the contact group."
"They will end up talking to each other without us and the representatives of Donbas," he said.
It has not yet been announced who from LPR and DPR territories will represent Ukraine. The newspaper Nove Vremya reported, citing sources in the Office of President Volodymyr Zelensky, that Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration Alexii Reznikov was tasked with determining the criteria to select ten more people among internally displaced persons to join the negotiations in the TCG.
Ukraine wants to form this group from representatives of the Donbas who are lawyers, journalists, businessmen, priests and so on.
The Russian side has not yet made an official comment on possible changes to the TCG. LPR and DPR have already criticized Kyiv's intention to bring in internally displaced persons into the negotiations.
On May 6, a video conference took place between the advisors to the heads of Normandy Format Talks, Andrii Yermak, Dmitry Kozak, as well as Jan Hecker and Emmanuel Bonne from Germany and France.
According to an informed source of Kommersant, deputy head of the Russian Presidential Administration Kozak said that Russia is not going to change its delegation and raise the status of its negotiators in the TKG. The interlocutor of the newspaper also said that Dmitry Kozak called on Andrii Yermak to communicate with the "real, albeit unrecognized, authorities of the Donbas republics" and not "to try to present Moscow as a party to the conflict, and therefore to negotiations."
In turn, Kyiv has repeatedly noted that the TCG consists of Ukraine, Russia, as well as the OSCE, which acts as a moderator.
President Volodymyr Zelensky approved the composition of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group to resolve the situation in the Donbass. It is, as before, headed by Leonid Kuchma. The delegation also included representatives of Ukrainian government and heads of parliamentary committees.
According to Russia's Interfax, Russia does not intend to change the composition of its delegation to the TCG.
The Ukrainian side will keep representatives of the government and parliament in the TCG even if Russia does not make a similar decision, said Andrii Yermak.