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    US special Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker and US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch in Donbass, July 23, 2017

    Kiev Outwits Itself in Donbass Negotiations

    © Photo: Ukrainian Defence Ministry
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    Roman Bessmertny, former Ukraine representative in the political subgroup of the Contact Group on Donbass, has told Ukraine’s 5th Channel that Kiev so strongly desired US involvement in the process of resolution of the conflict in Donbass that it hasn't noticed itself being shut out.

    According to Bessmertny, Moscow and Washington are now deciding the fate of Ukraine among themselves, pressuring Kiev into starting direct talks with the self-proclaimed people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

    "What has happened is that all the Normandy format and Minsk process tremor has being replaced with the dialogue between Washington and Moscow. And the irony of it is that…the direct dialogue between Washington and Moscow is a positive thing for Ukraine, only they are talking without us," the politician said.

    He added that Kiev now must come up with a scheme to reintroduce itself into the negotiations as a full partner.

    Kiev launched a special military operation in Ukraine's southeast in April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities, which came to power in a coup.

    In February 2015, the two sides reached a peace agreement after talks brokered by the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine — the so-called Normandy Format — in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Kiev has been reluctant to implement a number of provisions of the Minsk deal.

    The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in eastern Ukraine, as well as an all-for-all prisoner exchange and constitutional reforms, which would give a special status to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics. Both sides of the conflict, however, are constantly accusing each other of violations of the agreement.

    According to data provided by the International Crisis Group in late June, approximately 10,000 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine since the conflict began.

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    Donbass, United States, Russia, Ukraine
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