Lugansk, Donbass. Later this month the Minsk contact group will meet yet again to talk about what was already decided two years ago, meanwhile people die daily in Donbass, but some here are sending signals that patience only lasts so long.

The Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR) says it is ready to resume the word-for-word fulfillment of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements as the Kiev authorities are unwilling to discuss the Steinmeier option.

Speaking ahead of the Minsk contact group meeting, scheduled to be held in Minsk on May 24, Rod Miroshnik said that “if Kiev does not like the Steinmeier formula, then we are ready to go back to the word-for-word implementation of the Package of Measures and demand that Donbass be immediately granted a special status,” he stated.

Back in late 2015, then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier came up with a mechanism aimed at the implementation of the Minsk agreements. The mechanism stipulates that a temporary special status will be granted to Donbass on the day of the election while the region will receive a permanent special status after the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) issues a report confirming the election to be lawful.

The agreement was approved by the Normandy Quartet (Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France) and has been referred to as the “Steinmeier formula.” According to Miroshnik, the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements particularly stipulates that within 30 days after the Package has been signed, the Ukrainian parliament will adopt a document defining the territories that would receive a special status, and also ensure that the document becomes a law. Only after that is done, the parties may start discussing ways to conduct regional elections.

The Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was signed in February 2015 at a summit of the Normandy Quartet (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine).

The 13-point document stipulates declaring a ceasefire in Donbass, withdrawing heavy weapons from the line of contact and taking measures aimed at facilitating the search for a political solution to the conflict which includes amnesty, autonomy and every foreign soldier-NATO or otherwise leaving the Ukraine.

“The formula has been considered to be a compromise on whether a special status issue should be tackled first or elections in Donbass should be conducted,” Miroshnik pointed out. “As representatives of the Donbass Republics, we insisted that first, a special status be provided to us and after that elections be conducted, but we were also ready for a compromise, accepting the Steinmeier formula in order to break the deadlock in talks and move forward to address all the political issues,” the LNR representative said.

At present, he noted that Kiev “has been sabotaging discussions of the Steinmeier formula for six months, so the mechanism to provide a special status to Donbass cannot be put into effect, thus the Ukrainian authorities have been disregarding a decision made by the Normandy Quartet leaders.”

While the leaders may meet to discuss in Minsk agreements broken many times, new efforts in Donbass are underway with a number of local and regional meetings of the Donbass-Russian Integration Committee, which is looking at a simpler solution to Minsk, by simply joining the Russian Federation directly.

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