During the exclusive interview with RIA Novosti Crimea, Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic Denis Pushilin answered questions about the Minsk talks, about the chances of holding elections according to Ukrainian laws in the DPR, about the non-observance of the ceasefire by the armed forces of Ukraine, about the likelihood of an exchange in the format “100 for 100”, Zelensky’s policy and other matters, the press service of the Administration of the Head of the DPR reports.

Expressing his stance on the replacement of Leonid Kuchma by Leonid Kravchuk in the Trilateral Contact Group, the Head of the Republic said,

“It is important for Donbass that peace comes, what persons will contribute to it is a secondary issue. At the moment the chances for a political reconciliation are extremely low. We still see a blockage, sabotage in the negotiation process at certain points. And this is already happening under the new president Zelensky. Therefore, we are not sanguine about that.”

Denis Pushilin commented on Kravchuk’s proposal to hold a round of talks in Kiev.

“Direct dialogue is needed and the venue for these negotiations is the Contact Group, the Minsk talks. As for the trip to Kiev, excuse me, but it is not safe for many Ukrainian politicians to be there. We see the radicals attacking the representatives of opposition parties, TV channels, the authorities are toothless, do nothing with it, and it only promotes the aggression of the active minority, from which the manifestations of outright terrorism come, which recently ran rampant in Ukraine. 

Therefore there is no more talk that someone can guarantee us safety there, and it is wrong for our part even to consider having the talks in Kiev. At this stage, we need to use the mechanisms and tools that are prescribed and supported by the UN Security Council. It is necessary to conduct negotiations in the subgroups at the Minsk venue. Only this way we may understand how to settle the conflict and how Donbass will coexist with Ukraine,” the Head of the Republic explained.

As for the elections in the republics under Ukrainian laws, as one of the conditions of the Minsk agreements, Denis Pushilin said that there are many nuances and opposite positions in this matter.

“This is the job of the political subgroup, which is supposed to find common ground. But there is still a lot to do before the elections. Ukraine has not outlined a clear plan of action yet, how they see it, how they will fulfill their obligations.

For now, we need to establish a direct dialogue, not to avoid it,” Denis Pushilin said.

As for Ukraine’s compliance with the ceasefire regime, the Head of State stressed that all the ceasefires were of short duration.

“Now we are watching whether the countries-guarantors of the Minsk Agreements will have enough political will or pressure to make Ukraine comply with this regime. At the moment we can say that since July 27, heavy weapons prohibited by the Minsk Agreements have not been used. At the same time, Ukraine has violated the ceasefire ten times: small arms and under-barrel grenade launchers were used on the Mariupol and Gorlovka fronts.

According to the agreement, the perpetrators must be punished. Unfortunately, we have not see that. But we can safely say that during this period no one has been killed, wounded, the infrastructure has not been damaged. The lives and health of people is the most important thing to pay attention to,” Denis Pushilin emphasized.

Commenting on Ukraine’s statement about the exchange based on the “100 for 100” format, the Head of the DPR noted that the exchange was discussed by the Contact Group, but it is being blocked by Ukraine. The lists have not been provided or corrected yet.

Denis Pushilin said about Zelensky’s policy towards Donbass,

“It turned out to be a lie primarily towards the citizens of Ukraine who voted for Zelensky. They voted for him just not to support Poroshenko and his warmongering policy. Unfortunately, there were more hostilities under Zelensky, except for the last period since July 27. More people were killed.

The last one is worse. In his rhetoric, he gets farther and farther away from the peaceful resolution of the conflict, which is why many people were disappointed. This is easily evidenced by the rapidly falling rating of both Zelensky and his party itself. In this case, I am not talking about us, because we harbored no illusions from the very beginning.”

Commenting on Russia’s role in the settlement of the conflict in Donbass, Denis Pushilin noted that Russia is one of the main peacekeepers and is pushing for the political settlement by all available means.

The Head of State also highlighted the issue of cooperation with the Republic of Crimea.

“There are many areas of common interest, now the issue of their implementation is being considered. Given the warm relations with Crimea and Sevastopol, the plans will be carried out. As the result of the working meetings, which took place yesterday and today, we can say that many projects will be implemented in the near future. Of course, we are talking about mutual supplies of various products, there are many mutually profitable areas,” Denis Pushilin said.

Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, the Head of the DPR said that the situation in the Republic remains stable, given the constant support from Russia he hopes to agree on the vaccination of DPR residents in the future.