MOSCOW, September 7 (RIA Novosti) - The head of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) Igor Plotnitsky has said it needs to be clarified what Kiev sees as "illegal armed groups", while Ukraine’s army and National Guard must be withdrawn from the territories of the republics.
"With regard to the item on the withdrawal of illegal armed groups, military vehicles, fighters and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine, it is necessary to first understand what groups exactly are to be considered illegal. We believe the National Guard itself to be an illegal armed group," Plotnitsky told RIA Novosti by telephone.
"We believe that the militants of (Ihor) Kolomoisky must be expelled from Ukraine and all of Europe. We believe that the military equipment of the Ukrainian army is illegally present on both Luhansk and Donetsk territories. If Ukraine sees this point the same way we do, then we’re in for it. If not, then we must discuss this."
On Friday, the members of the Contact Group on Ukrainian reconciliation met in Belarusian capital Minsk to find ways to resolve the Ukrainian crisis. Kiev authorities and self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics agreed to "all for all" prisoners of war exchange, military hardware withdrawal and humanitarian aid access to the combat zone. The ceasefire agreement came into force at 15:00 GMT the same day.
Ukraine has been engulfed in violent internal conflict since mid-April, when Kiev began its military operation against independence supporters in the southeastern regions of the country. According to United Nations’ estimates, over 2,500 people have been killed and more than 6,000 wounded since the start of the offensive.