DONETSK, August 19 (RIA Novosti) – Reconciliation talks between the government of Kiev and the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine can only take place if the both entities have an equal say, DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko said at a press briefing on Monday.
“We are always… open for any kind of talks. We are awaiting proposals, but only rational proposals – not those demanding that we lay down arms and lock up the borders. This will never happen,” the self-proclaimed leader of the Donetsk region said.
Zakharchenko stressed that negotiations should be held “on equal terms between equal partners,” meaning that Kiev must first recognize the DPR as a “fully-fledged state.” The Donetsk leader added that the government would certainly find it difficult to agree with.
“We are against war and we do not want further civilian casualties,” Alexander Zakharchenko noted.
This came after Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said Monday that Kiev would only commit itself to a ceasefire after it regained control over the eastern border and provided safeguards to the monitoring mission of the United Nations.
According to a report by the mission of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), nearly 1,400 people have been killed since the special operation in eastern Ukraine began, while about 117,000 of Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes and cross into neighboring Russia in search of shelter.