DPR's Zakharchenko says new Contact Group meeting pointless amid truce violations

The self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko says he is skeptical about the proposal to hold a new Minsk meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group assisting in the peace process in eastern Ukraine.

The self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko says he is skeptical about the proposal to hold a new Minsk meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group assisting in the peace process in eastern Ukraine.

"Kiev is not observing the terms of the truce established at the previous negotiations in Minsk. Attacks on our cities and positions go on. What is the point of meeting again this week and what can we discuss there? They should first observe the truce," Zakharchenko told Interfax.

The DPR prime minister said he might not attend the consultations even if the Trilateral Group converged in Minsk this week.

Zakharchenko confirmed the readiness for further POW exchanges irrespective of Kiev's ability to honor the truce. "We will be exchanging prisoners whether there are attacks from the Ukrainian side or not," he said.

Ukraine-EU-Russia Trilateral Contact Group member, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said last Friday the next round of negotiations had been scheduled for next week.

"Another round of the Minsk meeting is planned for next week," Kuchma told reporters in Kiev.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said earlier that the next meeting of the contact group for Ukraine would take place in the near future. "There are expectations that the contact group would hold another meeting in the near future, and this is logical," Lukashevich said at a news conference in Moscow on Thursday.

"It is necessary to reach specific agreements on all provisions of the Minsk agreements of September 5. This concerns a very important element that is stipulated there, that is, the continuation of a nationwide inclusive dialogue between Donbas and the Kiev authorities, the DPR and LPR [the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic] and the Kiev authorities, and on resolving a number of other issues that need to be formalized as separate documents," Lukashevich said.

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