KIEV, February 3 /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) are to blame for the failure of the recent round of talks of the Contact Group for Ukraine, Yevgeny Perebeinos, the Ukraine Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told journalists on Tuesday.
"Representatives of the DPR and LPR put up several demands which actually disrupted the talks," he said.
"Ukraine does not accept the language of ultimatums. Our stance consists in full and unconditional implementation of the Minsk agreements," Perebeinos went on to say. He added that the Ukrainian side hoped to continue the consultations on the Ukraine settlement and expected Moscow to react to the failure of the latest consultations in Minsk.
The Contact Group for settlement in eastern Ukraine met in Minsk on February 1 without any visible results. Afterwards, the authorized representatives of the two self-proclaimed republics, Denis Pushilin and Vladisalv Deinego, said that instead of talking, the Kiev authorities delivered an ultimatum to the militias.
The representatives of the self-proclaimed republics also announced their intention to continue abiding by the Minsk Memorandum. They noted that Ukraine was using various arguments to protract the settlement process.
The level of representation in the Contact Group was a source of serious differences inside the Contact Group. The Kiev authorities demand the presence of the heads of the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR, Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, in Minsk.
Denis Pushilin, the authorized representative of the Donetsk People’s Republic, has recently explained that the heads of the DPR and LPR will be ready to leave the territories of their republics and arrive at the talks to sign the documents drafted and initialed by the Contact Group at the level of authorized representatives as soon as Kiev publicly signs a decree ordering a ceasefire.
Moscow, meanwhile, has urged the Ukrainian authorities to continue a dialogue with the militias in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during his trip to Ashgabad, Turkmenistan, on Tuesday.
"I am not going to comment the remarks made by representatives of the Ukraine Foreign Ministry. They are making too many statements, which eventually do not correspond to facts. It’s necessary to continue the talks instead of pointing fingers at Russia and the militias; it is necessary to talk to them as to participants in the negotiations rather than to someone who is perceived exclusively as an appendage to the Contact Group," Lavrov said.
The Russian foreign minister said that they /the militias/ were full-fledged participants in Ukraine’s internal conflict and should, therefore, be given the right to express their interests directly.
"The Kiev authorities should certainly take account if these interests," Lavrov stressed.
"Our main task is to make the sides cease the fire and pull back heavy weapons under the agreements reached when the initiative of the president of Russia was supported. After that, it was fixed in the Berlin statement of the foreign ministers of the ‘Normandy format’. But the next day, the Ukrainian leadership gave up on that initiative and resumed military hostilities," the Russian foreign minister said.
"It is necessary to act not out of consideration for the falsely understood prestige but primarily in the interests of saving human lives and restoring peace in eastern Ukraine," Lavrov stressed.