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KIEV, January 27. /TASS/. Prospects for Ukraine conflict resolution under the brokered Minsk peace talks are assessed with "extremely harsh scepticism" in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics given Ukraine's military offensive, the Russian president's spokesman said.
But amid continuing conflict, Moscow was "cautiously optimistic" in its assessments about new preliminary talks between a Ukraine government representative and top officials of the two territories begun in Donetsk on Monday, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Hopes were that this debate would continue, notably over a ceasefire, pullback of artillery and missile systems from the disengagement line and prisoner swaps, the official said.
Monday's meeting "was primarily caused by the fact that amid Ukraine’s offensive actions, Donetsk and Luhansk representatives are known to voice extremely harsh scepticism regarding prospects of the Minsk peace process", Peskov said.
Talks in Donetsk brought together business magnate and Ukrainian Choice organisation leader Viktor Medvedchuk, representing the central administration in Kiev, and heads of the self-proclaimed Donbas republics Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky.
Administration officials in Kiev declined to comment on Monday's talks.