The parties also stated that they had agreed over the next four months to work on municipal elections in Donbass, a major obstacle so far. However, there were no details on how the votes were to take place and Mr Macron acknowledged that there were still differences of opinion on the issue. Certainly, the document published by former Minsk negotiator Roman Bessmertny seems to base the planned agreement on the Steinmeyer formula. In November 2015, the then German Foreign Minister Franz-Walter Steinmeyer proposed that on the day of the municipal elections, a special law on the status of the “Donetsk and Luhansk People`s Republics” should enter into force, which will be confirmed when OSCE observers agree that the elections should have been held without a breach. The mechanisms proposed by Steinmeier in October 2015 to implement the Minsk agreements have already been described as a “formula”. The former German foreign minister announced his proposals on the issue at the four-party summit in Normandy in October 2015 in Paris, which were confirmed a year later at a similar meeting in Berlin. The Steinmeier formula is not a legislative act. This is only one option for a political and legal settlement in eastern Ukraine without the introduction of a military component. “In the most favourable interpretation of Moscow, the election formula (in eastern Ukraine) would take place, with the current security environment still present,” Dickinson said. “Essentially with the separatist/Russian forces that are still in the lead.” The introduction of the Steinmeier formula into Ukrainian law was adopted on Monday evening by the leaders of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia, notably at the Four Normandy summit in Paris. Interpretations of the document differ in Ukraine and Russia. UNIAN explains what the Steinmeier formula really means and how it could influence the process of colonization in the Donbass. Putin`s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on 2 October that the Kiev agreement on the Steinmeier formula was a “positive” development and added: “There is no doubt that this is an important step in the implementation of previous agreements.

In concrete terms, Steinmeier`s formula calls for elections to be held in separatist areas, in accordance with Ukrainian law and OSCE supervision. If the OSCE considers the vote to be free and fair, a specific self-management status will be established for the territories and Ukraine will be readmitted from its easternmost border. Decisive milestones have been set for the resolution of conflicts in eastern Ukraine, with the parties to the conflict agreeing on the so-called Steinmeier formula. However, after the approval of the formula, Kiev began to present additional conditions for its implementation. It was only after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenski took office that the Ukrainian government agreed to continue the debate on the formula. In September, representatives of the four heads of state and government in Normandy agreed that the text of the Steinmeier formula should be approved by all members of the contact group, as a first step towards the gradual implementation of other points of the Minsk agreements and the preparation of the new meeting between the heads of state and government of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France.