MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti) – The self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) in Ukraine’s southeast has no plans of handing control over the border area with Russia to Kiev, the republic’s head, Igor Plotnitsky, told RIA Novosti by telephone Tuesday.
“I have already said that any attempts to turn the Minsk protocol against us won’t work. We signed this protocol like an agreement on peaceful existence. We cannot be isolated or smothered. We will not hand our borders with our brotherly Russia over to enemy control. We are ready for an economic competition with Ukraine. Soon the whole world will see that Ukraine is doomed to massive poverty and degradation without the industrious Donbas,” Plotnitsky said.
Plotnitsky’s statement comes in response to Yuri Lutsenko, an adviser to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who said earlier that the protocol signed in Minsk last week does not envisage a special status for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and only one third of the Donbas territory, controlled by militia, will get this status.
Lutsenko also claimed that the Minsk protocol means that Ukraine remains an integral country and the “temporarily uncontrolled areas of Donbas” are also part of it. Lutsenko also reportedly said that Kiev should control and isolate this zone.
“Has Poroshenko’s adviser leaked the plans of his boss? Or is he speaking on his own opinion? Is he threatening Donbas with isolation? Revolutions and friendship with [US Vice President Joe] Biden won’t fill a man. Other Ukrainian territories will soon wish to live freely as we do. If Poroshenko wants a dialogue, let him calm down his talkative advisors,” Plotnitsky said.
During the meeting of Contact Group on Ukraine in Minsk on September 5, the representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) agreed to a ceasefire between Kiev and independence supporters that started at 15:00 GMT the same day. The sides also agreed to the international monitoring of the truce’s implementation, the exchange of all prisoners and the opening of humanitarian corridors.
The protocol entails adoption by Ukraine the law on special status for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in addition to holding early elections.