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Ukrainian president rules out talks with representatives of self-proclaimed republics

June 20, 2014, 3:02 UTC+3 KIEV
The spokesman of Pyotr Poroshenko said that militias in the self-proclaimed republics “ruthlessly kill civilians”
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KIEV, June 20, 1:09 /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has ruled out any talks with representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR) in eastern Ukraine, Poroshenko’s commissioner on settlement of the situation in the breakaway regions, MP Irina Gerashchenko, said at a briefing Thursday.

“It is evident that there can be no talks with the LPR and DPR as these organizations claim responsibility for shooting down Ukrainian aircraft with our best servicemen,” Gerashchenko said. She also claimed that militias in the self-proclaimed republics “ruthlessly kill civilians.”

According to the commissioner, “there is a clear position to hold talks only with those who are ready to share the peace plan of the president to establish peace and stop fratricidal war”. Her words came amid Kiev’s continuing punitive operation against federalization supporters in Ukraine’s southeastern regions.

The Ukrainian presidential press service reported that during a meeting with the Kiev-controlled authorities of the eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions, Poroshenko presented 14 clauses of a peace plan to settle the situation in Ukraine’s Southeast.

The president in particular noted that the Constitution should be amended to decentralize power in the country.

Ukraine has been in turmoil since the end of last year, when then-President Viktor Yanukovich decided to suspend the signing of an association agreement with the European Union to study the deal more thoroughly.

His decision triggered anti-government protests that often turned violent and eventually led to a coup in February 2014. Yanukovich had to leave Ukraine for security reasons.

Massive protests against the coup-imposed Ukrainian authorities erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern territories, mainly the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, after the secession of the Crimean Peninsula, which declared independence on March 11 and joined Russia on March 18 following a referendum.

Demonstrators in southeastern regions, demanding federalization, refused to recognize the coup-imposed authorities and seized some government buildings. Kiev has been conducting a punitive operation against pro-federalization activists. Ukraine’s military and militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions are engaged in intense fighting against each other.

The punitive operation that involves armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation has already claimed hundreds of lives, including civilian, left some buildings destroyed and damaged and forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee Ukraine to Russia.

The Donetsk and Lugansk regions held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine. Their independence has not been officially recognized.

Russia has repeatedly called on Kiev to end the punitive operation and engage in dialogue with Ukraine’s Southeast. The operation, however, continues under Poroshenko, who won the May 25 early presidential elections and took office on June 7.

Poroshenko, dubbed “the chocolate king” because his structures control Ukraine’s Roshen confectionery manufacturer, earlier told media he had funded anti-government protests that led to February's coup in Ukraine.

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