The fact that the local population has considerably increased support for the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) has to be reckoned with, Andrei Kelin, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said an interview aired by the Rossiya 24 TV news channel on Monday.
“Kiev and the newly-elected leadership of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics should establish a direct dialogue,” the Russian diplomat said.
“By the way, our Western colleagues admit that a huge number of people in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics voted exactly for the idea of creation of DPR and LPR,” Kelin went on to say.
If previously, Kelin said, the majority of local people were neutral to the idea, today they are actively advocating the creation of these new entities.
“It is a fact that should be reckoned with. It is necessary to conduct a dialogue with these new entities,” Kelin stressed.
“There is only one alternative /to the dialogue/ and it is to move towards a frozen conflict, as it was in the Caucasus,” he told the Russia 24 television channel. “Denying dialogue, demonstrating arrogant unwillingness to see the partner and to speak with him means to bury the problem in the sand and “freeze” the conflict for years.”
He reminded that a well-known Georgian politician, Nino Burdzhanadze, had said that Kiev was repeating mistakes made by the Saakashvili regime in Georgia.
“I believe Kiev should establish direct dialogue with the legitimate leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions,” Kelin stressed.