Ukraine separatists say won’t compromise until parliament retracts amendments

Verkhovna Rada File Photo

(Interfax – Moscow, March 18, 2015)

Donetsk and Luhansk say that henceforth they will not be able to find any compromise with Kiev until “yesterday’s shameful decisions by [Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko and Verkhovna Rada [Ukrainian parliament]” are cancelled, according to the joint statement by the leaders of the two self-proclaimed republics, Oleksandr Zakharchenko [Russian: Aleksandr Zakharchenko] and Ihor Plotnytskyy [Russian: Igor Plotniskiy], published on Wednesday [18 March].

Zakharchenko and Plotnytskyy said the amendments to the law on the special status for Donbass and on recognizing the LPR [Luhansk People’s Republic] and DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic] as occupied territories, passed by the Verkhovna Rada on 17 March, actually denied Donbass the special status stipulated by the Minsk agreements.

“Kiev has crushed the fragile Minsk deal and led the situation to a deadlock. Poroshenko and [Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy] Yatsenyuk have laughed cynically at their donors from the European Union who spent so much effort on the talks,” they said.

Donbass said the “main achievement of the meeting between [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel and [French President Francois] Hollande in Minsk was that they forced Poroshenko to officially include in the set of measures the principle of a direct dialogue between Kiev and the republics on all the issues of military and political settlement”. By passing the documents that had not been agreed with the DPR and LPR “Kiev showed us that it is incapable of negotiating”.

Zakharchenko and Plotnytskyy said “Kiev does not want peace. It aims at destroying Donbass through violence and economic blockade”.

“Kiev has already suffered military, political and moral losses many times. The economy of Ukraine has actually ceased to exist. Nevertheless, Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk persist and put on a brave face. Well, if this is what they want, they will be beaten once again. They will be beaten as many times as necessary for the ultimate defeat of the Ukrainian party of war,” the authors of the statement said.

They raised complaints about the decisions passed by the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada on 17 March, saying the decisions “undermine the foundations of the peaceful settlement”.

Zakharchenko and Plotnytskyy said the Rada’s decision “lists only the populated areas marking the line of contact [between troops], not all the regions, cities, settlements and villages where the special status should be introduced according to Article 1 of the Ukrainian law on the special status”.

In addition, Article 10 of the law on the special status was amended with conditions for local elections in Donbass. These amendments were not agreed with the DPR and LPR. “At the same time, the paragraphs 4 and 12 of the Minsk set of measures to implement the Minsk agreements of 12 February that oblige Kiev to discuss and coordinate the modality and issues relating to the local elections with Donbass representatives were completely ignored,” the authors of the statement said.

They said the “introduction of the special status (regime) in some regions is being postponed indefinitely by Poroshenko’s amendments”, a gross violation of the paragraph 4 of the set of measures.

Donetsk and Luhansk also said “Kiev raises the question of deploying peacekeepers to the conflict zone. This has not been stipulated by the Minsk protocol of 5 September 2014 or the memorandum of 19 September 2014 or the set of measures of 12 February this year”. Therefore, Ukraine “violates the whole logic of the peace plan that has been developed with such difficulty. It is another attempt to leave the Minsk agreements covered with good intentions,” they said in the document.