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DPR takes control over Donetsk airport after Kiev troops withdrawal — DPR defense ministry

The republic's leader Alexander Zakharchenko also stressed the DPR was ready to maintain friendly relations with the Kiev authorities

DONETSK, January 16. /TASS/. All Ukrainian troops have withdrawn from the territory of the Donetsk international airport, the Donetsk News Agency said on Friday, citing the defense ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

“There are no Ukrainian servicemen at the new terminal of the airport. They have abandoned their positions and have withdrawn seeing no point in further resistance,” the ministry said.

The DPR defense ministry said on Friday morning the DPR militias had established control over the airport.

Also on Friday, DPR’s head, Alexander Zakharchenko, promised to hand over the Ukrainian flag the Kiev troops had left at the airport to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. “Those people who have been killed at the airport because of you have the right to take in /the flag/ and remember that it was you who had send them there to die. Let this flag be passed over to the mothers whose sons were killed at the airport,” Zakharchenko said in an address to the Ukrainian president.

Also, Zakharchenko stressed the DPR was ready to maintain friendly relations with the Kiev authorities if the latter said they wanted it too. “We are peaceful people, we want no warfare,” he noted.

On Wednesday, January 14, Denis Pushilin, DPR’s representative in the Contact Group for peace settlement in Ukraine, said the DPR self-defense forces had opened up a corridor to the Ukrainian military’s withdrawal from the Donetsk airport. Pushilin stressed that this was a “good will gesture” on the part of the DPR.

The Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed republic said on Thursday Ukraine’s troops were abandoning their positions near the airport.