On August 21, during a meeting in Minsk with Russian President Vladimir Putin's aide, Vladislav Surkov, US Special Representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker suggested that Moscow consider relocating negotiations on the Donbas from Minsk to Belgrade, Novosti Donbassa (News of Donbass) news website reported, citing its own source.
Surkov refused, said the website’s source.
It is noted that the potential relocation of the negotiations to another city would be connected to the increase in cases of the persecution of Ukrainian citizens on the territory of Belarus.
For example, during the night of February 1 in Minsk, policemen detained a journalist from Novosti Donbassa (News of Donbass), Vitaliy Sizov. The Belarusian authorities recommended that the journalist leave Minsk, explaining that he was included in Russian "black lists".
Then, on February 11, police in Minsk detained Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan. On August 28, it became known that a 19-year-old Ukrainian, Pavlo Gryb, had also disappeared in Belarus. It later became known that officers from the Russian FSB took Gryb to Krasnodar.
In late August, US State Department Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker said that the Kremlin's decision to "freeze" the situation in the Donbas and live under sanctions is fundamentally wrong.