LUGANSK, November 14. /TASS/. Kiev’s refusal to hold new negotiations of the Contact Group in Minsk proves that the Ukrainian authorities are reluctant to resolve the conflict peacefully and signals their insolvency, the parliament speaker of the self-proclaimed Luhansk republic said on Friday.
An advisor to the chief of Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Markiyan Lubkivsky, said earlier Kiev would not attend a new meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine in the Belarusian capital, accusing east Ukraine militias of failing to comply with the Minsk agreements.
In comments to Lubkivsky’s statement, Alexey Karyakin said: “We have not violated the agreements. Only the Ukrainian side is systematically breaching them. That’s why they are refusing to conduct further talks, and this points to their insolvency as the country’s leadership. This is their choice, this means they do not want peace.”
The self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) will continue defending itself, he said. “They are acting on the offensive. We will protect our lands,” the parliamentary speaker stressed.
Speaking on whether the LPR will seek meetings as part of the Contact Group on Ukraine in Minsk, Karyakin said: “The ball is in their court. It is they who do not have coal, not us.”
Russia's Ambassador to the OSCE Andrey Kelin said Thursday Ukraine’s army is pulling military hardware, including artillery and tanks, closer to eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions (Donbass).
The militias in eastern Ukraine have repeatedly reported about gunfire strikes against cities by Ukrainian forces, which caused many deaths among civilians. On Wednesday, the Defense Ministry of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) blamed Kiev’s military for using phosphorus ammunition.
The Contact Group of senior representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE has had two meetings in Minsk. On September 5, the sides signed a 12-point protocol in Minsk, in particular, on ceasefire and exchange of hostages. Two weeks later the sides adopted a memorandum on implementing the ceasefire regime.
The 9-point memorandum implies a ban on the use of all types of weapons and moving heavy hardware 15 kilometers away from the contact line. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has been tasked with monitoring the compliance with the memorandum.