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Only talks may stop bloodshed, introduce ceasefire — Ukrainian social entity leader

July 16, 2014, 19:44 UTC+3 KIEV
According to Ukraine’s Health Ministry, 478 civilians have been killed and 1,392 wounded since mid-Apri
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© AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

KIEV, July 16. /ITAR-TASS/. The continuation of dialogue on the settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine is complicated because the active phase of Kiev’s military operation there resumed and due to differences regarding the venue of the next round of consultations, Ukrainian Choice social entity leader Viktor Medvedchuk said in a statement on Wednesday.

Medvedchuk stressed that “the negotiating process today is vital for Ukraine.”

“Only through talks can we stop the bloodshed and introduce a ceasefire regime opening the road to a truce,” he said.

Medvedchuk said resumption of dialogue will also give the OSCE mission “an opportunity to monitor fulfillment of agreements by both sides to the conflict and pass on to the stage of large-scale talks on the settlement of the crisis in Donbass (the way Ukraine and Russia call the eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions).”

Medvedchuk was a mediator at preliminary talks between the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Ukraine’s authorities and the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR) in June aimed at settling the political crisis in Ukraine and terminating the armed conflict in the country’s embattled Southeast.

When asked by media to comment on a regular round of talks that the OSCE planned to organize and hold on July 15 in the format of a video conference between members of the international contact group on Ukraine [involving senior representatives of Ukraine, the OSCE and Russia] and representatives of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics, Medvedchuk specified that he “was not and is not part of the tripartite contact group.”

“Unfortunately,” the video conference in question “did not materialize,” the OSCE reported on its website on Tuesday.

Medvedchuk said the mediating negotiating group he led, which also involves Ukrainian people’s deputy Nestor Shufrich, “did not take part in organizing the video conference, although we have been holding talks on peaceful settlement of the crisis in the East of Ukraine since mid-May and have managed to reach an agreement on the start of dialogue between the three-party contact group and DPR and LPR representatives.”

The Ukrainian Choice leader stated that “on June 23 and 27, two rounds of talks were held, thanks to which an agreement was reached on a ceasefire regime, which, unfortunately, was terminated on June 30.”

Now, he said, it is hard to continue the dialogue because the active phase of Kiev’s military operation against Ukraine’s Southeast has resumed and due to differences regarding the venue for the next round of consultations.

Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.

During the military operation, conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. According to Ukraine’s Health Ministry, 478 civilians have been killed and 1,392 wounded in it. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s war-torn Southeast.

After a brief ceasefire announced by President Petro Poroshenko on June 20 and terminated on June 30, military attacks of the pro-Kiev forces on the country’s southeastern regions resumed.

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