Kyiv’s demand to disband the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk republics comes as a surprise to Moscow, Berlin and Paris, president Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.
According to him, the Kremlin is unsure whether means Ukraine is refusing to fulfil the Minsk deal.
“It is difficult now to comment on whether this translates to a retreat from the Minsk agreements or a refusal to meet the commitments or a withdrawal of signatures – this is unclear now,” state-run news agency TASS quotes Peskov.
He stressed that the Minsk Agreements had been concluded with the participation of representatives of the so-called people’s republics.
Russia considers the war in Donbas as an ‘internal Ukrainian conflict’ and insists on negotiations between Kyiv and the militants. According to the Ukrainian authorities, this would mean recognition of the ‘republics’ established by the Russian-backed separatists.
On November 21, 2013, when the then Ukrainian authorities announced that they were postponing the signing of the association agreement with the EU, pro-European Ukrainians started protesting Kyiv’s Maidan. The then Ukrainian presidentViktor Yanukovych was removed from power in February, 2014 after months of confrontation with the opposition, which resulted in the death of over 100 people.
Soon after the escape of Yanukovych, Russia annexed Crimea and ignited a military conflict in Donbas, where pro-Russian separatists proclaimed two ‘republics’ in the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk. According to the UN estimations, about 13,000 persons have been killed in the east of Ukraine since 2014.