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DPR head pessimistic about prospects of Minsk talks on conflict settlement

Pushilin said earlier that the Ukrainian leader was seeking to put the blame for the aggravation of the Donbass situation on the self-proclaimed republics in a bid to cover Ukrainian army's crimes

DONETSK, June 7. /TASS/. Denis Pushilin, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, sounded pessimistic about the prospects of the Minsk negotiating process.

"I am again pessimistic about the negotiations. Words remain just words and what we see in real life is continued shelling. Today, according to the reports I receive, shelling only intensified," the Donetsk News Agency quoted him as saying on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Pushilin said earlier on Friday that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky was seeking to place the blame for the aggravation of the situation in Donbass on the self-proclaimed republics in a bid to cover crimes committed by the Ukrainian army.

Peace settlement of the conflict in Donbass rests on the Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, that was signed by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, after marathon 16-hour talks between the leaders of the Normandy Four nations, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine. The 13-point document envisages a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk starting and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also lays out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and a constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.

The Package of Measures was later approved by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2202. The UN Security Council called on all the parties to ensure its complete implementation.

The latest meeting of the Contact Group was held in Minsk on June 5. It was its first meeting under Ukraine’s new president.