The second meeting of a roundtable on resolving the acute political crisis in Ukraine may be held in the country’s rebellious east, if participants can be assured safety. The first roundtable brokered by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe was convened in Kiev on Wednesday without representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which declared their independence from Ukraine earlier this week.

Acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk did not rule out that separatist leaders may be invited to the next roundtable. However, separatists have sought to press the point that their breakup with Ukraine was irreversible. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic has announced it was drafting its constitution.

According to Miroslav Rudenko, a separatist activist, the DPR will be a parliamentary republic. The republic’s Parliament, called the Supreme Soviet as in the erstwhile Soviet Union, is headed by Denis Pushilin, an ardent supporter of Donetsk independence, while Igor Strelkov, the separatists’ military commander, has been appointed Defence Minister.

Donetsk and Luhansk, which separately declared their independence, plan to form a federation.

Moscow, which earlier expressed “respect” for the overwhelming vote for independence in Donetsk and Luhansk, made it clear on Thursday that it has no immediate plans to recognise the separatists and once again urged Kiev to launch talks with the Russian-speaking eastern regions.

Ukraine’s Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov told lawmakers on Thursday that government forces had attacked and destroyed two military bases of insurgents in overnight operations near Kramatorsk and Sloviansk in Donetsk region as the military resumed the offensive despite the start of roundtable talks. Eyewitnesses told Russian wires that three local residents, including a woman, were killed when Ukrainian military opened fire on their cars in two separate incidents near Kramatorsk. Ukraine’s Party of the Regions of the ousted President Viktor Yanukovych walked out of the Parliament on Thursday in protest against the authorities’ refusal to halt the military operation in the east.

Insurgents in Donetsk gave Kiev 24 hours, until 9 p.m. on Thursday, to remove troops from the cities and vacate roadblocks or face being ousted by force.

Meanwhile, the United States continues to press Europe on further sanctions against Russia, which it blames for the crisis in Ukraine.


Waging a war on all fronts October 17, 2014

At least 5 dead in eastern Ukraine fightingJune 2, 2014

10 dead amid fresh fighting in eastern UkraineJuly 11, 2014

11 top Ukrainian separatists hit with EU sanctionsJuly 12, 2014

30 civilians killed in Donetsk clashes: Separatists July 12, 2014

Ukraine: Russian aid trucks won't be allowed across borderAugust 12, 2014

Ukraine claims capture of 10 Russian soldiers August 26, 2014

Putin, Poroshenko hold bilateral meeting in MinskAugust 27, 2014

Fighting moves to south-east Ukraine as Kiev suggests new road mapAugust 28, 2014

EU mull more Russia sanctions after alleged Ukraine incursionsAugust 29, 2014

Russia responsible for violence in eastern Ukraine: ObamaAugust 29, 2014

Putin to Ukraine: Begin immediate talks on eastern regionAugust 31, 2014

Putin: Russia will respect Ukraine poll resultMay 23, 2014

Russia: End zero-sum games to resolve Ukraine crisisMay 23, 2014

Separatist leaders vow to disrupt Ukraine presidential pollMay 17, 2014

Ukraine descends further into civil war May 19, 2014

Russia orders troops back from Ukraine borderMay 19, 2014

Rebels desperate as Kiev opts for attrition May 21, 2014

Russia softens stand on Ukraine voteMay 22, 2014

17 soldiers killed in Kiev offensiveMay 23, 2014

Rebellious regions excluded from Ukraine’s unity talks May 15, 2014

Fresh Ukraine flare-up threatens Europe’s peace planMay 14, 2014

East Ukraine: Massive mandate for ‘sovereignty’May 12, 2014

Ukraine’s eastern regions vote on self-ruleMay 12, 2014

Clashes in eastern Ukraine after residents vote for self-rule May 12, 2014

Kremlin pushes for dialogue after Ukraine vote May 12, 2014

More In: World | International | News