KIEV, June 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russian, Ukrainian and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) representatives are holding consultations to develop a further plan of action to regulate the situation in the east of Ukraine and on formatting possible negotiations on the issue, Ukraine’s acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshitsa told journalists Wednesday.
“The contact group is working and consultations with Russia and the OSCE representatives are being held. We are not talking about negotiations yet, these are consultations aimed at discussing the crisis settlement plan and negotiation format,” Deshitsa said ahead of a Ukrainian government session.
On Sunday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko participated in the meeting of the contact group on the implementation of a peace plan in eastern Ukraine, which he presented on June 6 during his visit to Normandy, France. At the meeting Ukraine was represented by the country’s Ambassador to Germany Pavlo Klimkin and Russia by Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov .The meeting was also attended by Heidi Tagliavini, the representative of the OSCE chairman, who was sent to Kiev to facilitate negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
Mass anti-government protests began in the southeastern regions of Ukraine in the end of February 2014 as a response of local residents to the military coup in Ukraine followed by an attempt by the new authorities to abolish a law that insured the regional status of Russian language in those areas.
The Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics declared themselves independent states following a May 11 referendum and soon started to form governments and law enforcement agencies.
Kiev refused to recognize the legitimacy of any of these decisions and has continued the military operation against the independence supporters in the regions.
Violence in eastern Ukraine has been on the rise since the beginning of a punitive operation launched by Kiev authorities in mid-April and has claimed dozens of civilian lives.
Moscow has repeatedly stated that Kiev must stop its military operation in eastern Ukraine and start direct dialogue with independence supporters.