News 10 october — 15:45

Zelensky vows his mission as president is to stop war in Donbass

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Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky declared on Thursday that his mission as the head of state was to put an end to the war in Donbass, Tass reports.

"My key goal is that I want to stop the war, I believe this is my mission," Zelensky told reporters in Kiev.

Zelensky stated that he understood that some citizens living in the uncontrolled territories in Donbass could feel that they are Ukrainians, while some of them might not.

"If people in Donbass think that they are not Ukrainians, I cannot get into their brain. Those who feel that they are Ukrainians should know that we won’t leave them and we won’t abandon them," Zelensky said.

The president stressed that these people should have a chance to "come back to Ukraine."

Bilateral meeting with Putin not on the agenda

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said that the issue of Donbass conflict could be discussed in two formats, either at the Normandy Four summit or at a personal meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, but the latter is not planned.

"Now we are only talking about the Normandy format. <...>We need to look into each other’s eyes, to understand who wants what, what the real steps are and when and how we can end the war. We want this very much. If you are keen on this too, let’s meet. We can meet in two formats — as part of the Normandy Four and at a direct meeting with the Russian president. No one is talking about the meeting with the Russian president because everyone is against it," Zelensky told reporters in Kiev.

The Ukrainian leader did not elaborate though who exactly was against his meeting with Putin.

Issue of Crimea

The Ukrainian leader plans to raise the issue of Crimea at the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) summit since he sees no other venue where to discuss this. "For me, the Normandy format is a chance to discuss the issue of returning Crimea because now there is no place to discuss this issue other than with our Western partners," Zelensky told reporters in Kiev during a press marathon.

Zelensky said on Wednesday that Ukraine was determined to get Crimea back with the helping hand of its international partners, but in this process there was no equivalent to the Steinmeier formula, which outlined the solutions for Donbass conflict. The Ukrainian leader has described the Crimean issue as a "complicated story."

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula where most residents are ethnic Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the authorities that came to power amid riots during the February 2014 coup in Ukraine.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification treaty on March 18, 2014, and the Federal Assembly (legislature) ratified it on March 21, 2014. Despite the convincing results of the referendum, Kiev refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia. The United States and the European Union slapped economic sanctions in 2014.

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