“Poroshenko spent the past two days with respected people of Donbass (Donetsk coal-bearing area, the word most typically applied to Eastern Ukraine), leader of public opinion, legitimate representatives of the local authorities, businessmen. He met with more than 400 people. The problem is that there is no negotiating position,” he said.
On Thursday, ahead of Poroshenko’s meeting with representatives from the conflict-gripped Donetsk and Luhansk regions, top-rated businessman Rinat Akhmetov, who lives in the much-troubled eastern city of Donetsk, said he was confident a peaceful solution of the crisis in the east of the country is essential. “I’m deeply convinced we must attain a peaceful solution, and we’ll be able to attain it only at the conference table, not while driving an armored personnel carrier equipped with machineguns and cannons,” Akhmetov said.
Akhmetov stressed that people in Donbass wanted to live in peace. “They are not interested in the process, they’re interested in the result,” he said. “People do need peace and they are begging for it and demanding it - please ensure peace.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian president’s envoy for peace settlement in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions Irina Gerashchenko said that “there could be no talks with representatives of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.”