Published: Wed, February 22, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Merle Christensen

Ukraine ambassador attacks Trump aides' secret peace plan

Ukraine ambassador attacks Trump aides' secret peace plan

Russian Federation said on Monday President Vladimir Putin's decision to recognise passports issued by separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine complied with worldwide law, after the move drew criticism from France, Germany and the European Union.

"The recognition of travel documents issued by the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic undermines the unity of Ukraine and is in stark contradiction to all that was agreed in Minsk and is therefore totally unacceptable", German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in Berlin.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that a plan drawn up by Andrei Artemenko, a Ukrainian MP, had made its way to the White House via a Russian-American business associate of Mr Trump and the president's personal lawyer.

Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin's press secretary, denied prior knowledge of the sealed plan, which includes a suggestion that Ukraine lease Crimea to Russian Federation, which annexed the region in 2014.

Despite their differences, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said neither Moscow nor Kiev had offered any alternatives to the Minsk process.

Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, backed a new promise for both sides to cease fire as of Monday.

A ceasefire to put an end to the battle between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia rebels is set to come into effect on Monday, (20 February) after a deal was signed over the weekend in Munich. "We are not going to say, "Let us abandon Crimea and in return, let us see peace in Donbas".

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Pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops have clashed with each other on a daily basis for the past several months. "It is the only way of ensuring a lasting solution to the crisis in east Ukraine", the French ministry said.

Ask Kyiv where the 700 tanks came from, Russia does not send tanks to the Donbas, declared Russian Presidential spokesman Dimitry Peskov, responding to reports that some 700 tanks are now on the territory of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.

Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, and Russian-speaking separatists in Ukraine began protests that escalated into a war.

Last week, contact groups involving representatives of the fighting parties surprised observers by agreeing new efforts to stop the violence.

In recent weeks, fighting escalated in the region, with some areas experiencing the heaviest artillery fire of the past two years, refocusing global attention on the simmering conflict that - along with the crisis in Syria - has strained the relationship between Russian Federation and most Western countries.

The Minsk agreement was inked in February 2015. The OSCE has expressed concern that this decision will undermine peace and hurt the chances for the cease-fire to take hold. "I can not even add anything to that", Mr Lavrov said during a news conference in Moscow.

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