Donetsk Separatists Reject Ceasefire Talks, Continue Offensive

World » UKRAINE | January 23, 2015, Friday // 20:52
Bulgaria: Donetsk Separatists Reject Ceasefire Talks, Continue Offensive Self-proclaimed Donetsk People`s Republic (DPR) leader Alexander Zakharchenko (C) walks in downtown Donetsk, Ukraine, 22 January 2015. Photo: EPA

The leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic Alexander Zakharchenko announced that his troops are on the offensive and the separatists are unwilling to hold truce talks with Ukraine.

Zakharchenko said that his forces, which are in control of the city of Donetsk, will push the front line back to the borders of the Donetsk region, the BBC reports.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine for the renewal of violence along the front and the “criminal” shelling of civilian areas.

At a meeting of the Normandy format, which took place in Berlin this week, the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France issued a joint call for a ceasefire and the establishment of a demarcation line.

The latest surge in violence has centred around the airport of Donetsk, which is of high strategic and symbolic importance to both sides.

Ukraine announced that it withdrew its troops from the airport's main terminal on Thursday, but still retained some control over it.

Both sides continue to hurl accusations at each other for the renewed aggression, which continues to claim the lives of civilians.

The latest such incident was the shelling of a bus stop in Donetsk on Thursday, in which at least eight civilians were killed, according to the OSCE.

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Tags: Ukraine, separatists, Donetsk, Russia, Vladimir Putin, ceasefire, Normandy format, Germany, France, OSCE, Alexander Zakharchenko
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