Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump discussed a referendum in Donbass to resolve the situation in the People’s Republic of Donetsk (DPR) and the People’s Republic of Lugansk (LPR), while they were at the Helsinki summit, Kremlin official Yuri Ushakov in an interview.
Last Thursday, Bloomberg interestingly reported that during the recent meeting with Trump in Helsinki, Putin proposed holding a referendum in eastern Ukraine under the auspices of international organizations so that local residents could determine the status of the separatist territories themselves. FRN assesses that such a report may have the consequence of softening the discourse, laying the path for potential acceptance of the borders as they now exist, from this semi-frozen conflict.
“This proposal was discussed, but no reaction was followed,” Ushakov told Izvestia newspaper in an interview.
On Wednesday, the Russian ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, confirmed that specific proposals on the resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine were made at the Helsinki summit.
The conflict in Donbass began in 2014 when Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation against the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, who refused to recognize the new regime in Kiev after the coup in Maidan Square.
In February 2015, the parties to the conflict signed the Minsk peace agreements to end hostilities in the region. Despite this, the situation remains tense, with both parties accusing each other of breaches of the cease-fire.
This comes as a report has revealed that the United States became the country that bought the most weapons from Ukraine in 2017. The data were released in the report of the State Service of Export Control.
According to the report, in total, the United States bought from Ukraine more than 15,000 rifles and machine guns. In addition, Washington also purchased 790 anti-tank rifles and grenade launchers.
Another active importer of Ukrainian small arms was Uzbekistan, which bought two thousand automatic rifles.
The main buyer of heavy equipment was Thailand, which bought 16 Oplot tanks, developed on the basis of the T-80.