bne IntelliNews -
Talks to reach a truce between pro-Russian rebels and Ukraine ended without a deal on January 31, said Kyiv's representative at the talks in Minsk. Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine's second president and a member of the tripartite contact group for a Donbass settlement, said that the latest round of consultations with envoys of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics had been sabotaged.
"Today's consultations on a plan for the implementation of the Minsk ceasefire accords, which contains a list of concrete measures aimed at de-escalating the situation as quickly as possible, were disrupted because of the non-attendance by the signatories of the Minsk documents, separatist leaders Oleksandr Zakharchenko and Ihor Plotnytskyy, ultimatums presented by their envoys Denys Pushylin and Vladyslav Deyneho, and also their refusal to discuss the plan of measures for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons," Kuchma told Interfax-Ukraine.
Kuchma accused the insurgents' representatives of also putting forward "ultimatums" at the four-hour talks without giving any more details. The negotiator for the rebel Donetsk People's Republic, Denys Pushylin, however, blamed Kyiv for causing the collapse of the talks and said insurgent leaders would only sign a deal if Kyiv's forces halted fire first, Russian news wires reported.
Kuchma said that Ukraine's official position was as follows: "The Ukrainian side does not accept any ultimatums and preconditions. Our position of principle on a peaceful settlement in some districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions remains unchanged - the agreements signed in Minsk on 5 and 19 September 2014 must be implemented in full and unconditionally, starting with the declaration of an immediate ceasefire." Kuchma said that he expected Russia to make an official statement on the matter soon.
Jason Corcoran in Moscow - Russian banks are disappearing at the fastest rate ever as the country's deepening recession makes it easier for the central bank to expose money laundering, dodgy lending ... more
bne IntelliNews - The Kremlin supported by national sports authorities has brushed aside "groundless" allegations of a mass doping scam involving Russian athletes after the World Anti-Doping Agency ... more
Jason Corcoran in Moscow - Revelations and mysticism may have been the stock-in-trade of Nikolai Tsvetkov’s management style, but ultimately they didn’t help him to hold on to his ... more