MOSCOW, June 18. /TASS/. Progress in peace talks on the Ukrainian crisis is possible only if Washington does not interfere in the course of negotiations in Minsk, Belarus, a senior official from east Ukraine’s self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said on Thursday.
Denis Pushilin, the Donetsk republic’s envoy to the Contact Group of senior representatives from Ukraine, Russia and European security watchdog OSCE, told Donetsk News Agency: "If the United States does not meddle in the Minsk talks, negotiations will see progress."
Pushilin said the current pace of work on the complex of measures to fulfill the Minsk peace deal did not suggest any swift end to fighting in eastern Ukraine.
"I am disappointed by the pace of work on agenda items of the Minsk talks. It does not allow us to speak about an early ceasefire. We should identify causes for such weak efficiency of the negotiations," the agency quoted Pushilin as saying.
On June 23, envoys of Moscow, Kiev, the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will gather in Minsk to continue Contact Group meetings reviewing progress of the ceasefire. Discussions are expected to include working subgroups. They last met in the Belarusian capital on June 16.
Establishment of working subgroups is part of agreements reached by leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France in Minsk on February 12 calling for a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias.
The peace deal also sought pull-back of heavy weapons from the front line by at least 15 kilometers (9 miles), prisoner release and agreement for international observers to monitor the truce.
Among the terms of the deal was a commitment to intensify the work of the Contact Group. Four subgroups, tasked with addressing security, political, economic and humanitarian issues, are expected to advance work by the Contact Group in activating elements of the Minsk deal.