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Ukraine's self-proclaimed republics will halt cooperation with Kiev if Ukraine joins NATO

February 16, 2015, 8:22 UTC+3
The two unrecognized republics will try to get Kiev's military operation cancelled
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© Konstantin Cherginsky/TASS

MOSCOW, February 16. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed republics of eastern Ukraine, the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) will urge for cancelling Kiev's military operation in eastern regions of the country, the republics’ representatives at the Contact Group said in a joint statement on Monday.

"While all those shameful and criminal decisions and orders leading to deaths of thousands of people and disastrous destruction remain in force, no real truce is possible," Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego said in the statement.

The two unrecognized republics will regard Minsk agreements as void and halt cooperation with Kiev if Ukraine joins NATO, runs the statement.

"Any move of Kiev towards NATO or any other anti-Russian military alliance is unacceptable for us. In such a case, we will immediately suspend cooperation with Kiev and will consider the Minsk agreements as void," the statement of DPR’s Denis Pushilin and LPR’s Vladislav Deinego says on Monday.

"Though some of our demands were not reflected in the Complex of Measures of February 12, we shall insist they are observed," the Donetsk news agency quoted the statement.

Latest Ukraine peace effort

On February 7, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande arrived in Kiev for talks with Poroshenko with the aim to settle the crisis. Next day, the European leaders arrived in Moscow for talks with Putin.

On Sunday, February 10, the ‘Normandy Four’ discussed most recent developments by phone and scheduled a meeting in Minsk for February 11.

In the brief interval between the meetings in Moscow and Minsk, Merkel visited Washington for talks with Barack Obama. She said after the meeting that one more attempt to settle the conflict in Ukraine should be made, adding she would have never pardoned herself if this attempt had not been made.

Hollande told reporters before departure for Minsk he was leaving with a firm conviction a much-desired compromise solution would be found eventually.

Poroshenko said before boarding in Kiev he was going to Minsk to cease the fire and to open a political dialogue immediately and unconditionally.

On February 11, the Normandy Quartet negotiations - presidents of Russia, Ukraine and France and German chancellor - in Minsk in various formats (in private and with other delegations) lasted for the total of 16 hours from 7:15p.m. local time.

On February 12, members of the Trilateral Contact Group on the Ukrainian conflict settlement signed a four-page set of measures to implement the earlier Minsk agreements.

The document was signed by OSCE Special Representative Heidi Tagliavini, Ukraine’s second President Leonid Kuchma, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, as well as leaders of the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky. The first point of the document sets condition for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire beginning from 00:00 hours (Kiev time) on February 15, 2015. The conflicting parties agreed on withdrawal of all heavy weapons. Parties will pullback all heavy weapons to locations equidistant from the disengagement line in order to create a security zone at least 50 kilometres wide for artillery systems with a calibre of 100 mm or more, a zone of security 70 kilometres wide for multiple rocket launchers and a zone 140 kilometres wide for multiple rocket launchers Tornado-S, Uragan and Smerch and the Tochka-U tactical rocket systems.

The final document says that the Ukrainian troops are to be pulled back away from the current line of engagement, and the militias of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions - from the engagement line set by the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014. "The pullback of the mentioned heavy armaments should begin no later than the second day after the ceasefire and be completed within fourteen days," the package of measures says. The document points the OSCE will promote this process with support from the Trilateral Contact Group."

The package of measures contains a special item requiring "effective monitoring and verification of the ceasefire regimen and pullout of heavy armaments by the OSCE as of the first day of the pullback, with the use of all required technical means, including satellites, drones, radars and other systems."

A separate point of the document provides for release and exchange of all hostages and illegally held persons based on the "all for all" principle that should be completed after the weapons withdrawal - on the fifth day at the latest. The sides also agreed on restoring the Ukrainian side’s control over the state border throughout the conflict zone.

Another point of the document provides for withdrawal of all foreign armed groups and mercenaries from Ukraine’s territory under OSCE supervision; all illegal armed groups shall be disarmed.

The set of agreed measures envisages Ukraine’s constitutional reform with the country’s new constitution talking effect by late 2015. The key element of the new constitution will be power decentralization and adoption of permanent legislation on a special status for certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Ukraine’s south-east.

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