Appeal of civil society representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk regions with regard to threats posed by Russia’s military and psychological pressure on Ukraine and its Western partners

In light of the build-up of troops of the Russian Federation along the borders of Ukraine and exacerbation of the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the Donbas, we can see several ominous trends that may lead to serious internal destabilization in Ukraine and escalate the inter-state conflict in eastern Ukraine to a civil conflict. We are talking about possible attempts by Germany and France to persuade Ukraine’s leadership to reconciliate with the Kremlin by signing and attempting to implement “Key clusters for the implementation of the Minsk agreements”, which are humiliating for Ukraine and contrary to its legislation and the Constitution.

We are convinced that such an attempt does not lead to peace, but to political and military capitulation of Kyiv, exoneration of Moscow from responsibility for aggression against Ukraine and creation of a real, not a hypothetical as it used to be, threat of a civil war in Ukraine. During all seven years of aggression and de facto occupation by Russia of part of the territory of Ukraine, Moscow, despite the clear and repeatedly expressed support for Ukraine by all democracies and international organizations, has been zealously and stubbornly trying to present the war against Ukraine as an intra-Ukrainian conflict. Recently, the meetings within the Minsk Trilateral Contact Group are becoming one of the sites of systemic manifestation of such attempts. For several months now, we have been seeing the efforts of the Russian side and the OSCE’s mediators to exclude the representatives of internally displaced persons from Donetsk and Luhansk regions from the process of discussing the future of these regions and turn the Trilateral Contact Group into a de facto five-sided one.

That is, in violation of the trilateral format and documents of the Minsk agreements, representatives of the OSCE and Russia actually provide physical persons from CADLO occupied by Russia the status of separate delegations, trying to replace the sides to the conflict in the diplomatic process that makes productive dialogue impossible a priori. Such manipulations give the appearance of a direct dialogue being possible between legitimate Ukrainian authorities and the occupation administrations of Russia in Donetsk and Luhansk. In this way, Moscow is not only trying to undermine the foundations of social stability in Ukraine, but also to provide the international community with evidence that Ukraine seems to be in a state of civil conflict.

Opposing categorically any attempts to legalize the occupation administrations, rejecting the possibility of giving them a monopoly on representation of residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the diplomatic process and emphasizing the need for a trilateral format in the work of the TCG, we declare the inadmissibility of dictation by foreign states as to what legislation Ukraine should adopt or repeal, what Constitution it should have, and how it should liberate its sovereign territory within internationally recognized borders.

We warn the political leadership of Ukraine, as well as representatives of France and Germany that any arrangements based on principles of flirting with the Russian aggressor, granting subjectivity to occupation administrations, arbitrary interpretation of security prioritized over any political matters, will be condemned by civil society and provoke effective resistance from our side and all patriots of Ukraine.

We emphasize the inadmissibility of preservation in the Donbas of any form of illegal armed formations who killed, imprisoned and tortured patriots of Ukraine. Any attempt to do so will trigger our firm and effective response. We impose responsibility for any possible consequences of destabilizing the situation in Ukraine and encouraging the Russian aggressor to take further action, aimed at destructing Ukrainian statehood, personally on the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the President of France Emmanuel Macron.

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