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Donbass officials say meeting with US envoy could help settle conflict

"We have seen no initiative from Mr. Volker towards us," the self-proclaimed Lugansk people’s republic envoy to the Contact Group said

LUGANSK/DONETSK, July 24. /TASS/. The envoys of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR) say they would want to meet the US Special Envoy for Ukraine Negotiations, Kurt Volker, because this could help settle the conflict in Ukraine’s embattled Donbass.

"I think this would be a rather useful meeting for all parties no matter what initial positions," the Luganskinformcenter news agency quoted LPR envoy to the Contact Group Vladislav Deinego as saying. DPR’s Denis Pushilin, for his part, said the Donetsk People’s Republic "welcomes any opportunities for a peaceful settlement of the conflict".

Both envoys pointed out that Volker has not contacted them as of yet. "We have seen no initiative from Mr. Volker towards us. At any rate, I haven’t received anything, and the leader of the republic (Igor Plotnitsky) has not put forward any tasks," Vladislav Deinego said.

"I strongly doubt that this envoy (of the US) will find an opportunity to meet us. However, we would want very much to meet him and look him in the eye, as well as listen to his rhetoric," the LPR representative said, pointing out that it is impossible to draw even somewhat objective conclusions on the situation in Donbass without visiting both sides of the conflict.

On Sunday, July 23, Kurt Volker visited the Kiev-controlled area of Donbass, giving a news conference in the city of Kramatorsk.

On Monday, he will be visiting Kiev where he is scheduled for talks with the country’s leadership, after which, according to the US Department of State, Volker will visit Paris, Brussels, Vienna and London for consultations on Ukraine. The Department of State has not mentioned any scheduled contacts with the envoys of the self-proclaimed republics.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appointed Kurt Volker as his special envoy for Ukraine on July 7. His task is to coordinate State Department’s settlement efforts.