MINSK, September 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Trilateral Contact Group negotiations on the resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine will assume an official status, a senior member of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) government, said on Monday.
At the next rounds of talks, Ukraine will be represented not only by former President Leonid Kuchma but also by an official who has certain power in the present government, DPR First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Purgin told ITAR-TASS. He said this would put the talks on a new, official, level.
Commenting on the results of Monday’s Contact Group meeting in Minsk, Purgin said, “We wanted to achieve greater progress on certain issues, but we did not yet succeed. The Ukrainian side had similar expectations, but they were not met either… the situation is in limbo, but there are points of contact where we can go forward.”
He referred to more active involvement of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Red Cross in order to prevent mass killing of civilians and to start exchanging “all for all”, which has been opposed by Kiev.
Purgin said the more constructive attitude at the talks had been inspired by the militias’ recent combat successes. “I think the situation on the fronts had its impact on the talks, and we saw the impulse to discuss issues in a more constructive manner,” he said.
He hopes to see more concrete results of the talks when the Contact Group meets next time on Friday. “Such concrete results now will concern mainly the exchange of prisoners of war and creation of conditions for a possible ceasefire,” he said.
The Contact Group’s meeting in Minsk lasted for almost 4 hours. Ukrainian President Kuchma, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, and the OSCE chairperson-on-office’s special representative for Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini participated in the talks.
Also participating in the talks were Purgin and the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic parliament speaker Alexei Karyakin.