Former Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma Leads Peace Talks in Donetsk

Former Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma Leads Peace Talks in Donetsk

On Monday, pro-Russian forces put down their weapons for peace talks. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko introduced a peace plan last week in an attempt to stop the violence in east Ukraine. At first, the pro-Russians did not accept the plan, but the National Defense and Security Council said the rebels did not use their weapons on Monday.

“Between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. [on June 23] no case of weapons use was registered. There were no takeovers of administrative buildings, military bases and other,” said Volodymyr Chepovy. “Thus, by 5 p.m. we can acknowledge that the peace plan of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has resulted in the actual ceasefire.”

However, Igor Girkin, also known as Igor Strelkov, self-proclaimed defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, said fighting did occur on Monday. From The Kyiv Post:

Strelkov said that his forces fired rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons at Ukraine’s “anti-terrorism operation” forces, hitting at least two armored vehicles and two military trucks.

The fighting occurred in the towns of Dolyna, Siversk, Kryvaya Luka, Ilychovka and either Sloviansk or Lysychansk, Strelkov said, adding that the Ukrainian forces had mined fields around Sloviansk and that there were “victims” as a result of the clashes.

Girkin was put on the latest sanctions list by the United States. He is also leader of the Donbas Militia group and said the aid from Russia included military equipment. On June 12, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov admitted Russia sends the pro-Russians “humanitarian aid,” but he never went into specifics.

The talks took place in Donetsk. From The Kyiv Post:

Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma led the talks, which included head of the pro-Russian non-governmental organization and close Putin acquaintance Viktor Medvedchuk, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, representative for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and chairman-in-office Heidi Tagliavini, self-proclaimed prime minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic Oleksandr Borodai, southeast movement leader Oleh Tsariov and representatives of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic.

Here is a video from the talks:

Borodai said the pro-Russians will respect the ceasefire request from Poroshenko and release the members of the OSCE. Everyone in attendance hopes to hold more peace talks in the near future.