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PARIS, March 26. /TASS/. Russia keeps on insisting on a direct dialogue between Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), but the Ukrainian authorities say there is no point in that. These are the results of the Wednesday meeting of political directors of the Normandy Four nations (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) in Paris.
Russia was represented by State Secretary and Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, who described the talks as ‘highly topical and practical." "We have agreed that not enough is being done to implement the Minsk agreements, episodes ceasefire violations were reported," he said.
Karasin said no one was satisfied with the pace of the implementation of those provisions of the Minsk agreement that were linked with political reforms in Ukraine. "So far, progress in the process of the settlement under the Minsk agreements is balked, basically, through Kiev’s fault," he noted. "We are lagging behind the schedule. The deadlines fixed in the Minsk agreements are not met by the Kiev authorities."
The Russian diplomat stressed that all political disputes are to be settled through dialogue between Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics, as provided by the Minsk agreements. "We are most concerned over the fact that on the backdrop of relative stabilization of the combat situation political process is making no headway. The dialogue so widely talked about by Normandy Four format participants at all levels, including presidential, is lacking," Karasin said.
He noted that there were questions to the military section of the Minsk agreements. "There were reports about ceasefire violations, Donetsk’s airport periodically comes under shelling, tensions are being heightened around the village of Shirokino," he said.
A major aspect of the Paris talks was the discussion of establishing working groups within the Trilateral Contact Group /Ukraine, DPR and LPR and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE/. The Russian diplomat stressed that these processes should also proceed in dialogue between Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics.
Also, Karasin underscored the counter-productivity of Ukraine’s initiatives to deploy United Nations peacekeepers or a European Union’s police mission. "Such operation will take more time than the implementation of the Minsk agreements and will cross out efforts geared towards their realization," he noted. "The package of the Minsk agreements is enough to settle the crisi in Ukraine."
Kiev’s representative, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Vadim Priskaiko, said the Ukrainian authorities did not take the current leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as legitimate representatives of people living in those areas. "It would be politically useless to talk to the people who in fact are field commanders and who are not Ukrainians in the full sense of this word. They are illegitimate and are not representing the people who reside in these territories," the Ukrainian diplomat stressed.
At the same time, he said Kiev was not denying all contacts with Donetsk and Lugansk. "I disagree that we are unwilling to talk. Simply, there is a special format - the trilateral Contact Group - for such contacts. This group comprises representatives of both unrecognized entities. The Minsk agreements provide the same schemes for the working groups," Pristaiko said. "The format may not be ideal but work is underway."
Normandy Four meetings may become regular. "I think we should meet once a month to discuss the problems that crop up and the steps that should be taken for resolving them," Pristaiko said after talks.
The Russian foreign minister said in turn that the Russian side was ready for such contacts and expressed the hope there would be many in the next few months.
The date for a next meeting has not yet been appointed. So far, it is not planned to raise the level of talks to a ministerial.