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Moscow Expects Talks on Status of Self-Proclaimed Donetsk, Luhansk Republics to Begin Soon

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Moscow expects that negotiations will begin soon on the status of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

Updated 2:58 p.m. Moscow time

MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow expects that negotiations will begin soon regarding the status of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

“In regard to the issue of the country’s southeast, then the protocol signed in Minsk envisages steps in that direction. We hope that these negotiations will begin quickly. Their format is obvious: the Ukrainian authorities and the leaders of the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, or the so-called signatories of the Minsk Protocol of September 5. And we call on them to fulfill this protocol,” Lavrov said during a joint press conference with Malian Foreign Minister Teiman Coulibaly.

Officials from Kiev, the Ukrainian southeastern regions, Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) met last Friday in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, in an attempt to find a solution to the Ukrainian crisis.

A ceasefire agreement, signed at the meeting, came into force at 6 p.m. local time (15:00 GMT).

On Monday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s advisor Yuri Lutsenko said that the protocol signed in Minsk and published on the OSCE website requires that Ukraine adopt a law outlining special status for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Other provisions of the ceasefire include a complete cessation of hostilities, an “all for all” prisoner exchange, and the opening of humanitarian corridors.

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