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    Ukrainian tanks stand in the yard of an apartment block in Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine. Fighting in the area around the town between Kiev forces and local militia escalated last week.

    Only Kiev, Donbass Can Name Mediators - Kremlin on Yanukovych's Letter

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    Only the two sides to the conflict in Donbass can agree on mediators to settling the conflict, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday in response to a mediation offer set out by the ex-president of Ukraine.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In a letter to world leaders obtained by Sputnik on Wednesday, ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych offered his vision of how to settle the Donbas crisis.

    "The role of mediator requires the consent of all parties to the conflict… Russia is not a party to this conflict, so Kiev and Donbass should first come together in this sense," Peskov told reporters.

    Peskov, asked for comment on Yanukovych's letter, noted that Russia serves as the guarantor of the Minsk ceasefire agreements alongside its Normandy format partners Germany and France.

    The Donbass conflict erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.

    In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Despite the agreement, the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.


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    Ukrainian crisis, Viktor Yanukovych, Dmitry Peskov, Donbass, Ukraine, Russia
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