Ukraine favors diplomacy for solution to Donbas crisis: Minister

Dmytro Kuleba says they have taken all scenarios into account regarding the course of the situation.

Ukraine favors diplomacy for solution to Donbas crisis: Minister

Ukraine favors diplomacy for resolving the crisis over its eastern Donbas region, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Monday.

"We are all focused on solving the existing crisis through diplomacy. Neither Germany nor Ukraine is in favor of solving this issue by force," said Kuleba, speaking at a news conference following a meeting with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock in the capital Kyiv.

"We combined our efforts to stop the current tensions and finally resolve the whole issue through diplomatic means," he added.

Recalling a meeting of a group of senior diplomatic representatives from France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, known as the Normandy format, in the French capital Paris on Jan. 26, Kuleba said that another meeting at the same level is planned to be held in the German capital Berlin.

"The meeting in Paris was very difficult. Preparations for the meeting in Berlin are also difficult. However, we are working on the continuation of the talks at the level of political advisers after this meeting," he said.

"Russia will remain in the diplomatic process. This is very important.”

Kuleba also said they have taken all scenarios into account regarding the course of the situation, adding Russia is trying to "destabilize" the situation in Ukraine and disrupt the relationship between the West and Ukraine.

For her part, Baerbock said they prepared a sanctions package against Russia with their partners.

"Germany is ready to pay a high economic price. The security of Ukraine is at stake," she said.

Russia recently amassed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine, prompting fears that the Kremlin could be planning another military offensive against its former Soviet neighbor.

But Moscow has denied that it is preparing to invade and said its troops are there for exercises.

The Kremlin also issued a list of security demands from the West, including a rolling back of troop deployments to some ex-Soviet states and guarantees that Ukraine and Georgia will not join NATO.

Donbas Crisis

Protests erupted in Kyiv on Nov. 21, 2013 when then-president Viktor Yanukovych opted not to sign a political association agreement with the European Union.

As the demonstrations grew larger, Yanukovych fled the country in February 2014 and pro-Russia separatists in the Donbas region's cities of Donetsk and Luhansk declared so-called independence.

In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea in southern Ukraine in a move labeled illegal by the EU, Turkiye and the UN General Assembly.

Some 13,000 people, both civilians and combatants, have lost their lives in the Donbas conflict between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists since April 2014, with some 30,000 wounded, according to the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.