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Putin's aide says new US suggestions on Ukraine 'more constructive'

January 27, 10:33 UTC+3

The talks’ key topic was once again a discussion of the Russian initiative to deploy in Ukraine’s southeast a UN mission

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Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov

Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov

© Alexei Druzhinin/TASS

MOSCOW, January 27. /TASS/. The "Dubai Package" of the U.S. suggestions on deploying a UN mission in Ukraine’s southeast looks quite doable, Russia will study it and will give a response in due course, Russia’s presidential aide, Vladislav Surkov, said after a meeting with the US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker on Saturday.

"The talks’ key topic was once again a discussion of the Russian initiative to deploy in Ukraine’s southeast a UN mission," Surkov said. "This time, the U.S. has brought more constructive suggestions. The U.S. "Dubai Package", unlike the "Belgrade" suggestions, seems quite doable, at least at first glance."

"The main part there is a rather detailed plan of a step-by-step deployment of a mission along with implementation of the Minsk agreements’ political items. It is a balanced approach, on which we have insisted," he continued. "We shall study it closely and will give a response in due course. After that, we shall invite Kurt and his colleagues to a new meeting."

Earlier reports said Surkov and Volker could meet in Dubai on January 26. Prior to that, they had three meetings: on August 21, 2017, in Minsk, on October 7 and November 13 in Belgrade. Russia’s presidential press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said the Kremlin did not expect concrete results from the Dubai meeting. This is a time check within the Donbass settlement negotiation process, he said.

Following a coup in Kiev in 2014, the Donetsk and Lugansk regions had local referendums on self-determination, where the majority backed establishment of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR). Their administrations refused to obey those who had seized power in Ukraine. In response, Kiev launched a military operation in Donbass.

On February 12, 2015, representatives of the Contact Group on settlement of the situation in Donbass endorsed the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements that had been coordinated with heads of the Normandy Four member states (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) in the Belarusian capital Minsk. The document stipulates ceasefire, arms withdrawal, amnesty, restoration of economic ties and implementation of a major constitutional reform in Ukraine that should lead to decentralization of power with regard to the special status of certain areas in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. However, this plan remains overdue. The Ukrainian side completely refused to fulfil the political items of the agreement, citing uncertainty in security issues.

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