Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
4th January, 2016
If the current President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, will not conduct direct dialogue with Donbass, it will create a change in Presidency, and the DPR, in fact, are ready for dialogue now, and were always ready, said the head of the Republic Alexander Zakharchenko to RIA.
"Representatives of Donbass have said that they are ready for direct dialogue with Ukraine, but Ukraine is not ready. They are not ready because the start of direct dialogue with is the indirect recognition of the criminal nature of the punitive operation of Kiev in Donbass — the so-called ATO. It is time to realise that the future of Ukraine is here, in Donetsk, and not in Moscow or in Berlin or Paris. It's the people of Donbass that expressed their will at the referendum and successfully defended their decision with a gun in their hands. So Kiev can accept that or not, but the dialogue will have to contact us directly. If this cannot be done by Poroshenko, it will be done by a different President of Ukraine," Zakharchenko told RIA Novosti.
The Ukrainian authorities in April 2014 began a military operation against the self-proclaimed LPR and DPR. According to the United Nations, victims of the conflict have totalled more than 9 thousand people. The settlement of the situation in the Donbass region is frequently discussed, including during the meetings in Minsk with the contact group, which since September 2014, have already received three documents governing the steps to de-escalate the conflict.
At the meeting of the contact group in Minsk on 22 December, parties to the conflict in Donbass had agreed to an unconditional ceasefire in the region from midnight on 23 December and on the termination of manoeuvres of any armed forces in the period of new year and Christmas holidays.