Europe

Belarus says Minsk talks on Ukraine crisis ‘cancelled’

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Belarus says the awaited Minsk peace negotiations between representatives of Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian forces have been cancelled after Ukrainian officials refused to show up.

“The Foreign Ministry of Belarus confirmed today that Kiev (representatives) won’t come. The talks have been cancelled,” pro-Russians’ representative, Denis Pushilin, told reporters in the Belarusian capital on Friday.

The development comes a day after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko urged all sides involved in the Ukraine conflict to “do their utmost to stop that war.”

Voicing concern about the potential spillover of the crisis “into the territories of Russia and Belarus,” Lukashenko called on Europe, the United States, and Russia to take decisive measures to halt the fighting.

Meanwhile, Russia’s envoy to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has called upon Washington and its European allies to stop supporting the “party of war” in Ukraine, warning against a looming “catastrophe.”

“I would like to appeal to the states that have influence on Kiev’s leadership, most of all to Washington. It’s time to stop indulging Ukraine’s party of war. Only a big catastrophe can result from such developments,” Andrei Kelin said on Thursday.

Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence pro-Russia protests there in mid-April 2014.

According to the latest figures released by the United Nations, more than 5,100 people have been killed in the fighting, and over 1.5 million others displaced.

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