Denis Pushilin, the speaker of the Donetsk Republic’s parliament, told ITAR-TASS over the phone that contacts were possible only with mediation. “I have very big doubts she will be able to do anything, given (Ukrainian President Petro) Poroshenko does not control the situation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Valery Bolotov, the head of the Luhansk People’s Republic, said he was not going to have any contacts with Gerashchenko until Ukraine pulled back its troops from the region. “I will speak to her only when Ukraine withdraws its troops from our territory,” he told a news conference, adding that the Ukrainian side was only building up its forces. “As a matter of fact, they want no talks at all,” he said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Poroshenko appointed Irina Gerashchenko, a lawmaker with the UDAR party, his envoy for peace settlement of the conflict in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Among her competences is “the organization and participation in consultations, roundtable meetings and conferences.