Russia refuses to back Ukraine's Easter truce initiative – Ukraine's envoy
Representatives of the Russian Federation have refused to support Ukraine's initiative to declare a ceasefire in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, on the occasion of Easter holidays.
"Talks have just ended. Without results. The Russian Federation has refused to back the initiative of Ukraine to declare a truce for the holiday, refused to shoulder the responsibility for a ceasefire in Donbas," First Deputy Chairwoman of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's envoy to the Minsk Trilateral Contact Group's humanitarian subgroup on Donbas Iryna Gerashchenko said on Facebook on Thursday evening after a TCG video conference had ended.
The Skype conference of the TCG and its subgroup for security had lasted for six hours.
Gerashchenko recalled that during his recent visit to Berlin to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and to Paris to meet French President Emmanuel Macron, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had secured Normandy format leaders' support for the initiative to declare Easter ceasefire and truce, which were agreed at a recent meeting in Minsk.
"Russia's envoy to the TCG Boris Gryzlov did not join the skype conference; the Russian side was represented by diplomat Azamat Kulmukhametov. Russia categorically refused to assume the ceasefire guarantees, once again repeating the Kremlin's statements about 'civil war, internal conflict' and the need of a 'direct dialogue with ORDLO [the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" and the "Luhansk People's Republic"]. The Russian Federation does not change its tactics, and the election race in Ukraine and its possible consequences do not make it agreeable," Gerashchenko said. "The truce was to become effective at noon on April 19. Ukrainian member of the TCG Yevhen Marchuk accused Russia and its President Vladimir Putin, who is not interested in de-escalation and the end of the war in Donbass, of breaking agreements. And there is not a single signal for Russia to be ready to change the position, on the contrary, it has been waiting for when Ukraine gets weaker and has been doing everything for it," she said.