KIEV, July 17 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Thursday that he supports negotiations on the crisis in the country’s east, but exclusively in an EU-US-Russia-Ukraine format.
“In regard to the further format of negotiations, I remain a supporter of negotiations in an exclusively ‘Geneva format,’” Yatsenyuk said during a cabinet meeting.
On April 17, talks were held in Geneva, with the participation of Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the European Union on the crisis in eastern Ukraine in order to de-escalate the conflict. Under the agreement, it is considered necessary to disarm illegal groups, release the illegally occupied buildings and initiate a national dialogue on constitutional reform.
Despite the talks and repeated calls by the international community and Russia to put a stop to the violence in Ukraine, Kiev authorities launched a military operation in April to suppress independence supporters in the southeast of the country that refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the central government after the February coup.
The operation continued and even intensified after the election of new Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The crisis has already resulted in numerous casualties on both sides, while more than 450 civilians have died since April.
Moscow has labeled the operation “punitive” and repeatedly urged Kiev to stop the bloodshed.