The idea of holding a "referendum" in the Donbas, allegedly expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a closed meeting with US President Donald Trump, cannot even become a subject of discussion. Former Foreign Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Ogryzko made a corresponding statement in a commentary to QHA.
He stressed that this information is very difficult to perceive as truthful, because of the lack of official confirmations.
“Yet there are no official comments from the US, therefore it is rather difficult to perceive this information as 100% truthful. It is difficult because the practice of the Russian Federation is a complete lie, disseminated in the context that is profitable for them. Until we get official confirmation that such a proposal was expressed, it should be treated, in my opinion, rather cautiously," the former Foreign Minister noted.
At the same time, according to Ogryzko, the proposal is not a decision, and often the way from the proposal to implementation might be very long.
“This is another attempt by Putin to solve his problems at the expense of Ukraine. And that's why such a proposal should be strongly rejected on our part, because holding a referendum in the occupied territory is the same as that done by Russia in the Crimea, which, by the way, Putin incidentally publicly said at the press conference. Therefore, the idea itself is absolutely absurd, and, in my opinion, cannot even become a subject of discussion.”
The ex-Foreign Minister went on saying that elections and referendums can be held only in free territories.
“Elections and referendums are held in free territories, where a citizen has an opportunity to express an opinion without restrictions. Thoughts expressed under the guns are not what they are, therefore the world community did not recognize the Crimean referendum, because this is a fake, it is a parody of democracy.”
QHA reported, that the publication Bloomberg, referring to its own sources, reported that during a meeting in Helsinki, Vladimir Putin invited Donald Trump to hold a referendum in the Donbas. Allegedly, the Head of the Russian Federation gave Trump time to think about this idea, before reporting it publicly. The publication noted that Putin's proposal includes holding a vote under international patronage for residents of territories controlled by the Russian Federation regarding their status.