- The Budapest style discussions were proposed by the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister.
- Donbas earlier this year agreed to make Russian its official language.
- Ukraine continues to struggle to resolve problems with Russia and to preserve its independence.
Consultations on the settlement of the situation in the Donbas area should begin with the participation of Ukraine, the US and the UK according to the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olexii Reznikov. On March 4 the Ukrainian Parliament approved the country’s new Cabinet of Ministers. Due to his appointment as Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine – Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, Reznikov has ceased his partnership in Asters law firm.
Earlier this year, a law was adopted by the Donetsk People’s Republic making Russian their official language. All the children in the region will be learning Russian and their academic progress would be rated under Russian standards. The Ukrainian education system differs from the Russian system, including different grading scales. The residents will stop learning the Ukrainian language.
It is plausible to believe that after the Russian constitution amendments vote on July 1, Putin will go after this region. In 2019, Russia aggressively started giving out Russian passports to the people residing in the region. One of the main reasons is that it will allow Russia to enter the region, because under the Russian constitution they are allowed to protect the “rights” of the oppressed Russian citizens. This was the main reason for the Kremlin to give out and fast track Russian passports.
Reznikov penned the proposal that was published by the Atlantic Council, an American Atlanticist think tank in the field of international affairs. Founded in 1961, it provides a forum for international political, business, and intellectual leaders.
Reznikov suggests the “Budapest format” for the Donbas Negotiations. On December 5, 1994, a memorandum was signed in Budapest, according to which Ukraine renounced nuclear weapons. In response, the guarantor countries promised to preserve the territorial integrity of the state (within the then borders) and political independence. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited the third largest nuclear arsenal after the United States and Russia. The main signatories to the memorandum were the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia. However, Russia breached the agreement in 2014 by annexing Crimea.
“One attempt to do this has already been made. As early as March 1, 2014, the British representative to the UN Security Council proposed to start urgent consultations in the Budapest format. At that time, the initiative was not continued,” said the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister.
Reznikov emphasizes that “at first, consultations should take place without the participation of Russia” since, according to him, Moscow allegedly “gave up its status as a guarantor in order to become an occupying force.”
Reznikov believes the Budapest format will provide an opportunity with the Kremlin to discuss the Donbas situation in a constructive form.
The Russian-Ukraine conflict remains a mess. Measures are needed to protect Ukrainian independence. At the same time, due to the coronavirus and the situation with China, the situation in Ukraine is no longer a priority.