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Putin reminds Kiev that compliance with Minsk deal is crucial

May 31, 1:52 updated at: May 31, 4:49 UTC+3 PARIS

"The main thing to be done by all the parties to the conflict to summon courage and reach agreements and I’m sure the ball is in the Ukrainian government’s side of the pitch", Russian President said

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PARIS, May 31. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has voiced the conviction that the Kiev government must comply with the Minsk accords on setting the armed civil conflict in eastern Ukraine.

"The main thing to be done by all the parties to the conflict to summon courage and reach agreements and I’m sure the ball is in the Ukrainian government’s side of the pitch," Putin said in an interview with the French daily Le Figaro. "They (the Ukrainian authorities) should bother for observing the Minsk accords, in the first place."

"It’s the conflicting sides that can mostly reach progress on settling any conflicts, including the conflict in southeast Ukraine," he said. "The conflict there is a domestic conflict, in the first place. It was sparked by the unconstitutional seizure of state power in Kiev in 2014. That’s the source of all problems."

Putin spoke to Le Figaro upon the completion of his working visit to France on May 29.

Leaders of the Normandy Four countries - Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine - signed a document known as the Complex of Measures for Enforcing the Implementation of the Minsk Accords at a summit in Kiev in February 2015, where the parties of the Contact Group for settling the armed civil conflict in southeast Ukraine participated as well.

The document has thirteen points that envision, among other things, a ceasefire in Donbass, a pullback of heavy weaponry from the Line of Contact separating the pro-government forces and the armed units of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics, and a set of measures for a long-term political settlement in the region.

Peace settlement in Ukraine requires a pullback of troops and heavy weaponry from the Line of Contact in southeast Ukraine and Kiev’s compliance with the law on a special status for southeastern territories, Russian President said.

"In our opinion, the main thing to be done is to pull back the forces from the Line of Contact and this should be the starting point," he said.

"The pullback (of manpower and weaponry) has been held in two place but it fails all the time in the third place," Putin said. "The Ukrainian authorities keep claiming today gunfire is on there but the problem is gunfire will continue while the troops and armaments remain there."

"The second thing to be done lies in the political sphere - it is a law on the special status of the territories that has the endorsement of the Ukrainian parliament and should come into effect eventually," Putin said adding that the Ukrainian deputies had adopted the law but its effectuation was miring.

He recalled that the Minsk accords spelt out the social and economic rehabilitation of Donbass. "But instead of doing it they impose a transport blockade and that’s the problem."

"Notably, it was the radicals who imposed it by blocking the railway lines," Putin recalled. "Ukrainian President said at first he condemned the blockade and would restore law and order but he tried to do it and had a flop."

"Instead of continuing his efforts, he (Poroshenko) decided to join the blockade personally and issued an executive order on the blockade," Putin said. "Given the situation as it is, we can scarcely talk of any improvements there.".

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