MOSCOW, December 19. /TASS/. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko himself asked in February 2015, when the Minsk agreements were signed, that leaders of the Donbass republics put their signatures under them, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at an annual news conference on Thursday.
"Pyotr Alekseyevich insisted that signatures of the leaders of those two unrecognized republics be put under these agreements," he said answering a question from a Ukrainian journalist about when a decision would be taken to disband the leadership of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR respectively).
"The three of them simply had me by the throat, but the republics’ representatives refused to do it," the Russian president continued. "Nevertheless, we persuaded them to do it. They put their signatures. Thus, Kiev admitted that those authorities exist."
"It is first," Putin said. "Second, elections were held there. People came and voted. It seems to me that it is a very democratic way of forming the authorities. Third, the Minsk accords contain direct indications of what rights the republics have and what they have the right to claim for. They mention the language and the local militia. There are some controversial issues, I will not hide anything. Everyone must know what we are talking about," he said.
The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, signed a 13-point Package of Measures to fulfil the September 2014 Minsk agreements.
The Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk starting from February 15 and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including prisoner exchange in the all-for-all format, local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.