DONETSK, September 4 (RIA Novosti) –A full withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic is needed for a viable ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, a member of the republic’s negotiation team said Thursday.
“It should be understood that “the withdrawal of artillery from cities” implies the complete withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the territory of the Donetsk Region. The firing distance of the Uragan [multiple-launch rocket system] is 35 kilometers, and there is no place in Donetsk without settlements in the 35-km radius… So, withdrawing them away from our cities means withdrawing them from the DPR territory completely. That suits us,” said Leonid Baranov, the republic’s acting state security minister and a negotiator at Friday’s talks in Minsk.
Earlier on Thursday, the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics said they were ready to order a ceasefire on Friday afternoon if a peace plan was signed during negotiations in Minsk on September 5. They also said they would submit their proposals on the ceasefire regime to the Contact Group in Minsk.
The same day, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he would be able to order a ceasefire on Friday starting from 2 p.m. local time (11:00 GMT).
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin presented a seven-point plan for the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, urging Kiev to withdraw its troops from southeastern Ukraine and militia to cease military advances.
Previously, the Contact Group on Ukrainian reconciliation, comprising Russia, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Ukrainian government and eastern Ukraine’s independence supporters met in Minsk on September 1.