KIEV, February 3. /TASS/. Officials at the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry claim that the demands of the East-Ukrainian self-defence forces to replace the Kiev government’s official representative at the Minsk talks on peace settlement are but an attempt to mark time.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s ambassador at large Dmitry Kuleba said this on Monday on Kiev-based Channel Five.
"They (the self-defence forces) are trying to destroy this format by any means," he claimed. "Whatever we do now, they will put forward more and more new claims."
"This is an endless process of marking time," Kuleba said.
He said Kiev did not see any earnest intention on the part of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) to begin de-escalation of the conflict.
"If we see any serious intentions, you’re welcome then," Kuleba claimed. "The doors are open. Take seats and we’ll work out and endorse concrete steps."
"We’re prepared for this every day and we just need a signal from them," he said.
On Monday, the Prime Ministers of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics, Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky made a statement where they said the talks in Minsk had brought no results and had been disrupted entirely through the fault of the Ukrainian side.
"At first, Kiev’s representatives didn’t turn up for the negotiations and then they came but with absolutely unclear negotiating powers," the statement says. "In the light of it, we think the statements by officials of the Ukrainian government and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who claimed that the talks in Minsk had been disrupted through the fault of representatives of the DPR and LPR run counter to reality and distort it."
Text of President Pyotr Poroshenko’s decree empowering former president Leonid Kuchma to represent Kiev at the talks of the Contact Group for Ukrainian peace settlement in Minsk was published on the eve of the talks at the Ukrainian President’s website, but Vladislav Deinego, the plenipotentiary envoy of the Lugansk republic at the talks said later the decree did not give Kuchma the powers to take decisions at the talks on behalf of the Ukrainian state.
"All the more so, the decree doesn’t vest in him any responsibility for the implementation of whatever decisions," Deinego said.