French President about the Donbas: First elections, then border control

French President François Hollande warned about the possibility of the conflict in the Donbas turning “frozen” if the Minsk agreements are not implemented. He made this assertion when answering questions at the plenary meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Hollande stressed that he believes the implementation of the Minsk agreements is the only way to solve the conflict. He also noted that the priority is to hold local elections, rather than return control of the Ukrainian-Russian border to Kyiv.

“Just after the elections Ukraine must get control of the border,” he stated, clarifying that this procedure is actually provided for under the Minsk agreements.

Hollande stressed that it is not about holding elections at any cost; it should be preceded by actions from both parties, “including militia that cannot be influenced by Russia […] First, a ceasefire and withdrawal of weapons; and after this, elections,” Hollande added.

When commenting on whether it is possible that the Donbas could turn into a zone of frozen conflict, the French president noted that such a prospect is real.

“The Minsk [agreements] should be fully implemented, otherwise we will have one more ‘frozen conflict.’ And it will be the first ‘frozen conflict’ in the world,” he added.

  Ukraine, Donbas, Minsk agreements, François Hollande