Moscow calls on Kiev to halt military offensive against rebels
MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
In this photo taken Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, a pro-Russian rebel stands guard as miners prepare to go into an elevator at the Chelyuskintsev coal mine in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. AP PhotoRussia on Nov. 3 called on Ukraine to halt its military offensive against pro-Moscow rebels in the east, saying the insurgent leaders had enough "authority" to hold talks with Kiev.
Deputy foreign minister Grigory Karasin made the appeal after Moscow recognised separatist elections in two eastern Ukraine regions dismissed as illegal by Kiev and the West.
The rebel leaders elected "have enough authority to establish broad sustainable dialogue with Kiev authorities," Karasin told Russian state news agency TASS.
"This work can bring results only on condition of equal dialogue based on mutual respect, with Kiev renouncing military operations and the notorious 'anti-terror operation'," Karasin was quoted as saying.
Russia has endorsed the rebels' Sunday elections held in the Ukrainian regions of Lugansk and Donetsk. But critics say the polls were aimed at legitimising the pro-Russian rebellion.
Russia risks a new round of Western sanctions over the contentious vote, but Karasin appeared to dismiss that threat.
"The language of sanctions is an absolutely counter-productive method of solving conflicts," he was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
"This has been proven by history."
He said Moscow was ready to help Kiev and separatists in rebel-held eastern Ukraine to find a solution.
"It's important now to take active measures so that a sustainable dialogue between Kiev and Donbass representatives could develop and we are ready to facilitate it to the best of our abilities," he was quoted as saying.
"We proceed from the fact that elected representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions have received a mandate to conduct talks with central Ukrainian authorities and within the framework of a political dialogue solve all the problems that have accumulated over the past months."
"It's obvious that people of Donbass have suffered enough and want a stable and calm life."