MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. Proposals to promote withdrawal of encircled Ukrainian government forces from Debaltsevo "deserve support", Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.
His comments follow a statement by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, saying that Minsk is ready to offer guarantees to pull out Ukrainian troops and heavy weapons from the east Ukrainian town, which has been under siege by militia forces for weeks.
"As for Lukashenko’s proposal to promote the pull-out of Ukrainian troops, I think any proposals that could help to do this deserve support if the Ukrainian authorities agree with it," Lavrov said, noting that if such a proposal was made, militias would raise no objection.
"We are calling once again on everyone, including those in Debaltsevo, to stop firing," he said, adding that there were people trapped in the area and it was necessary to think of people's lives and resolve the situation through negotiations.
The Belarusian leader said on Wednesday: "We are prepared to not just act as mediators, but to decently put an end to this conflict near Debaltsevo and promote the pull-out of Ukrainian troops from there against the security of our guarantees they will never be fighting again."
"If some may feel somewhat strained over the weapons at the Ukrainian troops’ disposal in Debaltsevo, we shall be prepared to accommodate that hardware in Belarus," Lukashenko said, promising that Belarus would ensure the weapons in question would never be used in combat again.