The former head of Ukraine's Foreign Intelligence Service, General of Ukraine's Army Mykola Malomuzh, said in an interview with Fakty news outlet that the withdrawal of troops wouldn't succeed in the Donbas.
According to him, despite the agreements with the EU countries, Russia and the Donbas militias intend to disrupt the withdrawal process, as it is not beneficial for them.
The General is convinced that the Russian authorities intend to push forward their conditions, and they will try to persuade European partners, especially Germany and France, to put pressure on Ukraine.
They will say: "There is a war in Ukraine, people are dying, and Ukraine doesn't want to stop it. We must try to persuade the Ukrainian authorities to come to the implementation of the formula," said Malomuzh, referring to the implementation of the Steinmeier Formula, which implies a special status for the Donbas.
Malomuzh stated that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are ready for concessions, but at the same time, he expressed confidence that this will not solve the military conflict in the Donbas.
It is necessary to reach a new level of negotiations to achieve any progress in this situation, and it is essential to convey to the Western countries that the Donbas is a "global hot spot" and symbolizes the confrontation between nuclear-armed Russia and NATO countries, the general concluded.
At a press conference in Kyiv on October 1, President Zelensky said that Ukraine had agreed to the text of the Steinmeier Formula at the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk.
He emphasized that elections could only take place in the occupied Donbas territories if Kyiv is given full control of the parts of the Russian border in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions that are currently not under its control.
On September 12, Zelensky said that Kyiv would insist on a Normandy Format session in September. He said that the leaders of the four represented countries would discuss the “Steinmeier Formula and all aspects of the Minsk Agreements”.
The formula was proposed by former German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. He said that the Donbas should be given a “special status” on the day that elections are held in the occupied territories, with the simultaneous withdrawal of illegal armed groups.