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DONETSK, December 16. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) was ready for peace talks, but Kiev disrupted them, DPR Foreign Minister Alexander Kofman said Tuesday.
“We were ready for talks. But they (Kiev) are disrupting them,” the DPR press center quoted Kofman as saying.
Kofman said the Contact Group on Ukraine was to have held a skype conference on December 10. The minister said the Ukrainian side failed to get in touch, and later ex-Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma “claimed there was allegedly unending shelling.”
“Actually, there were no shellings that day. So it is senseless to hold talks. They are disrupting the talks,” he concluded.
According to the United Nations, more than 4,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s east as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April, to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics.
The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire at talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.
The ceasefire took effect the same day but has reportedly been violated on numerous occasions.
The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE adopted a memorandum on September 19 in Minsk, which outlined the parameters for the implementation of commitments on the ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.
The nine-point document in particular stipulates a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibers of over 100 millimeters to a distance of 15 kilometers from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.
In another attempt by both parties to the Ukrainian conflict to put an end to hostilities, the "day of silence" in eastern Ukraine began at 09:00 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) on December 9.