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Ukraine’s representatives backtrack at talks — Luhansk republic head

December 29, 2014, 13:26 UTC+3 LUGANSK

“The issue is not in the Donetsk or Luhansk Republics, the issue is in Ukraine," the head of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Repblic Igor Plotnitsky said

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© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

LUHANSK, December 29. /TASS/. Kiev is not yet ready to negotiate vital issues with the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), the republic’s head Igor Plotnitsky said on Monday.

“Any negotiations are a process with two sides. We, on our side, are ready to have negotiations even on the New Year night — should it be useful for the people living in the republic,” the Luhansk Information Center quoted him as saying.

“The issue is not in the Donetsk or Luhansk Republics, the issue is in Ukraine. Ukraine is behaving like a naughty child as it is trying to change the document already prepared for signing,” he said.

“Amazingly, most people Ukraine authorizes for talks (not all though) do not follow their promises,” Plotnitsky said.

“In the course of negotiations, all parties discuss their positions, OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and Russian representatives agree. While Ukrainian representatives are trying to change at the last minute at least a word, at least a comma to alter the document.”

Withdrawal of heavy weaponry

Kiev’s withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the front line should be guaranteed by Russia, OSCE and other international organizations, Plotnitsky said.

“We do not doubt this item can be observed if guaranteed by representatives of, first of all, the Russian Federation, OSCE and other international organizations,” the Lugansk Information Center quoted him as saying.

“There is no believing Ukraine’s current leadership, as they have failed to observe their promises too many times now,” Plotnitsky said.

Ceasefire in eastern Ukraine

The Contact Group on Ukraine met in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk on December 24. The meeting featured former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, plenipotentiary envoys of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics — Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego, OSCE envoy to Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini and Russian Ambassador in Kiev Mikhail Zurabov.

The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on the ceasefire and the exchange of prisoners during the OSCE-mediated talks on September 5 in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk. The ceasefire took effect on the same day, but reports said it has occasionally been violated.

On September 20 in Minsk, the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine featuring representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE adopted a memorandum outlining parameters for implementation of commitments on ceasefire in Ukraine fixed in the Minsk Protocol of September 5. The document contains nine items, including in particular a ban on use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons of over 100 millimeters caliber to a distance of 15 kilometers from the contact line on either side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling implementation of the memorandum’s provisions.

In order to implement the Minsk agreements, the conflicting parties declared the “silence regime” in Donbas on December 9. Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics stressed the need to withdraw heavy weaponry, to carry out prisoner swaps and to demilitarize the region.

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