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Meeting of Contact Group senseless before Rada adopts territories with special status

Organisation of a meeting of Contact Group on settlement of the situation in Ukraine is senseless until Kiev adopts a document on territories in Donbass, which will enjoy a special status, envoy of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic to the talks Denis Pushilin told the Donetsk news agency on Saturday.

According to Item 4 of the Minsk agreements, Kiev agreed that within a 30-day period of time the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, would adopt a draft law on a special political and economic status for certain parts in Donbass by March 14.

Meanwhile, the law is unlikely to be adopted in time as the Verkhovna Rada had planned no meeting for Friday and Saturday, March 13 and 14.

On Friday the leaders of the self-proclaimed People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande as guarantors of the Minsk agreements to exert pressure on Ukraine's leadership so that it would fulfil commitments made at peace talks in the Belarusian capital.

On February 12 marathon talks between the Normandy Four leaders - Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko - in Minsk yielded a package of agreements, which in particular envisaged ceasefire between the Ukrainian conflicting sides starting from midnight on February 15.

Simultaneously, Minsk hosted a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine involving Ukraine's ex-president Leonid Kuchma, Kiev's special representative for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk, the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics /DPR and LPR/ Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, and Russia's ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and OSCE's envoy Heidi Tagliavini, both acting as mediators.

As a result, a package of measures was adopted to implement the Minsk agreements.

Lugansk People's Republic is not breaching

The self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) is not breaching, unlike Kiev, the schedule of implementing the Minsk agreements and goes ahead of the term, the republic's head Igor Plotnitsky said in an interview with the television.

"They [Kiev's military] still have not finalised withdrawal of the weapons, though they claim they have. We have seen they begin the pull back from the weapons out of order, and they are trying to hide and keep the weapons in good conditions, which may be used at the positions," he said.

He said there is some breakthrough at the negotiations of the participants in the Contact Group on settlement of the situation in Ukraine.

"While formerly it was all misunderstanding, a wall, at least now Ukraine, pushed by the guarantor countries, including Russia, France and Germany, has been demonstrating certain interest. They have to get involved in these contacts, though they violate all the timing," he said.

"Kiev pretends to be working, but in reality they are hiding behind whatever excuses," the republic's head said, adding the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) still had not adopted a document on a list of territories in Donbass, which will enjoy a special status.

He expressed bewilderment with recent statement made by Ukraine's President Pyotr Poroshenko about contracts with eleven EU countries on arms supplies.

"The question is: why would they need weapons if we jointly have ceased fire, including Kiev, which was the first to ask for peace. We have already seen the duplicity, the desire to deceive, shuffle. We realise they cannot act any other way, they are clowns in a circus, which owner is overseas. In the long run we should be talking to head of the circus," he said.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 14Mar15]

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