Donetsk, Jan 21 - DAN. Ukraine has to officially renege on its commitments under the Minsk Agreements if it does not plan to continue to work on a political settlement of the Donbass conflict, Donetsk People’s Republic representative at the Contact Group talks, DPR Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova said on Thursday.

The DPR and the LPR sent the Contact Group a draft road map on implementing the Minsk Agreements on October 9. Ukraine did not respond, but a month later, Kiev presented its own “step-by-step plan.”  It turned out that 78 percent of the document was a gross violation of the Package of Measures. It became clear during the new Donbass peace talks on Thursday that Kiev representatives had not familiarised themselves with the Republic’s project.

“In such a situation, we stated that Ukraine currently has two options, they either start joint work with us on the Road Map, which takes into account and is based on the project we offered, in full conformity with the Minsk Agreements, or revoke their signature under the Package of Measures,” Nikonorova said in a statement.

The DPR and LPR representatives repeatedly tried to bring it home to their counterparts the importance and necessity of discussing the Road Map which had raised no objections from Ukraine or intermediaries in the person of the OSCE and Russia. “However, Ukraine has been rejecting this simple and logical idea without a single coherent argument for several sessions,” the diplomat said.

Earlier, the Republics repeatedly stated that the Minsk talks were actually blocked due to Kiev’s adopting the resolution on local elections, whose fourth article was at odds with the Minsk Agreements.

The fourth item of the Ukrainian parliament’s resolution on local elections in Ukraine said that preliminary transfer to Kiev of the control of the border with Russia, withdrawal of all “illegal armed formations” and hardware, restoration of the “constitutional law and order” matching Ukraine’s current laws was the condition for holding the elections. These demands contradict the Minsk Agreements which envision a special status for the region and holding elections there under the conditions directly coordinated with Donbass representatives, with the discussion of border control transfer opportunity following these steps.

On Thursday, the Contact Group held the first round of talks via video conference this year.  The next round is scheduled for February 8.*jk