Poroshenko Says Ukraine Won't Negotiate With Russia

Davos, Switzerland/Berlin (Alliance News) - Ukraine won't enter into negotiations about the ...

Alliance News 21 January, 2015 | 4:48PM
Email Form

Davos, Switzerland/Berlin (Alliance News) - Ukraine won't enter into negotiations about the bloody conflict in eastern Ukraine, which will only be solved if Russia stops the flow of fighters and arms to the region, President Poroshenko said Wednesday.

"Our approach is very simple. We have nothing to negotiate," Poroshenko told the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos.

The president argued that the only needed step is the implementation of last year's ceasefire agreement, which stipulates halting foreign supplies of troops, weapons and ammunitions, and the withdrawal of heavy arms from the front line.

"If you want to discuss something different, you are not for peace, you are for war," he said.

Poroshenko reiterated his appeal for international solidarity with Ukraine by comparing the recent shelling of a bus that killed 13 in eastern Ukraine with the Paris terror attacks.

"We are fighting for European security, we are fighting for European values," he said, while holding up a shrapnel-riddled fragment of the bus.

The separatists have denied responsibility for the January 13 attack on the bus.

Poroshenko was speaking as the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany were preparing to hold another round of talks about the conflict later Wednesday in Berlin.

The ministers are to explore the chances of a summit with the leaders of their countries. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel dampened expectations, pointing out that the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine was getting "shakier and shakier."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier that the separatists in eastern Ukraine are ready to give up territorial gains and move back to the front line defined in the Minsk ceasefire accords of September.

"We used our influence on the (separatists') leadership and they agreed," Lavrov said in Moscow.

Andrei Purgin, a leader of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, said that the separatists were ready to discuss turning Donetsk airport into a demilitarized zone, the Interfax news agency reported.

Casualties mounted on Wednesday as fighting continued in Ukraine's eastern regions. Separatist leaders said that at least nine civilians were killed and 30 injured by Ukrainian artillery fire, among them four in Stakhanov, a city in the Luhansk region.

Authorities in the government-controlled areas of the Donetsk region said that six people were killed and 24 injured on government-held territory during the past 24 hours.

In his Davos speech, Poroshenko renewed accusations that regular Russian troops are fighting alongside the rebels. "Over 9,000 Russian troops are now in Ukraine. If this is not an aggression, then what is an aggression?" he asked.

Lavrov again denied this and claimed that Ukraine and the West had not produced evidence for its allegations: "Before you ask us to stop doing something, first show us proof that we are doing it."

Foreign journalists have encountered Russian troops in eastern Ukraine on numerous occasions. There have also been numerous reports of funerals in Russia of soldiers who mysteriously died in Ukraine.

Also on Wednesday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk asked the parliament in Kiev to increase the country's armed forces by 68,000 to 250,000 soldiers.

Ukraine this week began a massive mobilization drive that will bring more than 100,000 reservists to join the military.

Copyright dpa

Email Form
About Author Alliance News

Alliance News provides Morningstar with continuously updating coverage of news affecting listed companies.