A document, shared by Ukrainian news outlet ZN.UA, seems to reveal an agreement by Ukraine’s representatives in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) to create a consultative council that would include Ukrainian representatives and Russian-led militants from the so-called Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. Russia, Germany, France, and the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) are mentioned as overseers for this council.
The document mentions the TCG came to the decision to create this council following consultations with representatives from the OSCE, France, and Germany, and is intended to be signed on March 25.
“The main task of the council will be to create a dialogue, consult, and develop recommendations for political projects and legal decisions on regulating the conflict with the help of a series of measures, including holding elections in separate areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine,” reads the document.
The document also notes that the council’s membership will be separately determined by Ukraine, militants, Russia, Germany, France, and the OSCE.
This document, if confirmed, would be one of the few examples of direct Ukrainian negotiations with so-called representatives of the Russian puppet states. This has long been a condition by the Kremlin for resolving the conflict, but has been heavily opposed by much of both, the Ukrainian civil and political society. These parts of society say that they don’t see a reason to speak with the puppet instead of the puppetmaster, and that it feeds Kremlin propaganda about the Donbas conflict being an ‘internal matter’ – a statement echoed by a security official who was attacked by right-wing nationalists on March 12.