Ukraine FM calls on Russia to negotiate end to war in battle-torn east

Ukraine’s foreign minister wants Russia to come to “real negotiations” about a cease-fire and stabilization in Ukraine’s war-torn east which will require fair elections that are intentionally monitored.


Pavlo Klimkin said in an interview with The Associated Press that Russian military and special forces are “in full command” in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. He cited Ukraine’s capture a few days ago of a large Russian truck filled with weapons that was driven by a Russian special forces officer as one of many examples of Russia’s presence in the region. Russia has consistently scoffed at the claim and pro-Russia rebels dismissed the Ukrainian claim as a fabrication.


Kiev has had no control over parts of eastern Ukraine since pro-Russian rebels began fighting government forces in April 2014, a conflict that has since claimed more than 6,400 lives and displaced more than 1.5 million people. An armistice signed in the Belarus capital Minsk in February requires both sides to retreat heavy weapons from the front line, but international observers vetting that process regularly cite violations.


Klimkin said the rebels are persisting only because of Russian weaponry and military personnel crossing the border into eastern  areas, which the government doesn’t control. He said international monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe must have access to all areas in Donetsk and Luhansk. Now, he said, they don’t have access to up to 50 percent of the territory in the coal mining parts of the region.


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