Ukraine says will not designate special status for areas controlled by Russia-backed separatists

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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Wednesday his country would never give special status to the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, which has been under the control of Russia-backed separatists since 2014.

“None of Ukraine’s regions will have a right to veto the state’s decisions. That is engraved in stone! Therefore, no special status as Russia is considering it, no veto right will be given,” he told Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita.

Kuleba said Ukraine is ready to work on the implementation of the Minsk Agreement to resolve the ongoing conflict in the region and said the protocol needs to focus on security, first and foremost.

The Minsk Agreement suggests a solution to the conflict through direct dialogue between Kyiv and the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, commonly known as the Donbas.

It was signed in 2014 by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine, consisting of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Ukraine and Russia have been locked in a conflict since hostilities in Donbas broke out in 2014 after Russia illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula.

Tensions in Ukraine have been increasing for months after Russia amassed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s border, which the West says is preparation for war. Both NATO and the EU have warned of severe consequences if Moscow invades the former Soviet republic.

Russia has repeatedly denied that it plans to attack Ukraine, insisting that its troops are only there for exercises.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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