16 November 2017, 15:15


Russian president’s dialogue with LPR, DPR leaders enhances Republics’ legitimacy - lawmaker

LUGANSK, November 16 (Lugansk Media Centre) - Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct dialogue with LPR and DPR heads Igor Plotnitskiy and Alexander Zakharchenko enhances the legitimacy of the Republics, State Duma deputy, Russia-Donbass Integration Committee coordinator Andrei Kozenko said.

In a telephone conversation with Plotnitskiy and Zakharchenko on 15 November, Putin discussed Ukrainian special representative for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk’s initiative to carry out the 306 for 74 prisoner swap in the near future. The LPR leader told the Russian president that the Lugansk People’s Republic was ready to discuss prisoner exchange issues and that it was awaiting Kiev’s reply to these initiatives.

"Like it or lump it, the Ukraine-Donbass setup after the conversation will change against Ukraine. It changes the status of DPR and LPR politically, though not legally yet, as yesterday’s events clearly signalled,” Kozenko said.

He thinks that Putin’s telephone conversation with Zakharchenko had no less political significance than the president’s February decree on the recognition of documents issued in LPR and DPR.

“By the way, the president and his press service refer to the Republics by the names which were approved by residents at the 2014 independence referenda, i.e. the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. There are no such labels as “self-proclaimed” or “unrecognised,” the deputy said.

“Knowing the respect the head of the Russian state enjoys in Donbass, I’m confident that the Republics’ leaders will make all efforts towards meeting his request and carrying out the prisoner exchange before the New Year. It is obvious though that Ukraine will be creating all kinds of impediments one can think of. There is no need to seek a rationale behind it: it’s just uncontrolled hatred towards Donetsk and Lugansk and the impotence to influence them,” the coordinator said.

Kozenko did not rule out that in the near future, Zakharchenko and Plotnitskiy might represent Donbass in person at the international talks over stopping Ukraine’s armed aggression.

Prisoner exchange is a key point of the Minsk Agreements.

The Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was adopted by the Contact Group on Ukraine on 12 February 2015 and supported by member states of the Normandy Four (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France). The UN Security Council approved the document by its 2202 Resolution and called upon all the sides to ensure full implementation of the Package of Measures.

The document provides for comprehensive ceasefire, withdrawal of all heavy weapons from the contact line, starting a dialog on reconstruction of social and economic ties between Kiev and Donbass. It also envisages carrying out constitutional reform in Ukraine providing for decentralization and adopting permanent legislation on a special status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

LuganskMediaCentre — 16 November — Lugansk