The leader of Ukraine’s self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic says pro-Russian forces will continue to fight for more territory in eastern Ukraine, and will not push for fresh peace talks with the Kiev government.
“Attempts to talk about a ceasefire will no longer be undertaken by our side,” Alexander Zakharchenko said in the strife-stricken industrial city of Donetsk on Friday.
He further noted that pro-Russians are advancing in five directions to push back Ukrainian government forces to the limits of the restive Donetsk region, adding, “We will advance to the border of the Donetsk region.”
The remarks come a day after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stated that his government is open to any new ceasefire proposal, but stern retribution awaits anyone seeking to undermine peace.
“If the enemy doesn’t want to abide by the ceasefire, if he doesn’t want to put an end to the suffering of peaceful people, Ukrainian villages and town, we will smash them in the teeth,” Poroshenko told a meeting of top defense officials.
On September 5, 2014, the representatives of Ukraine, Russia, and the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk inked a ceasefire deal in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. The truce has been violated almost daily by both the Ukrainian military and pro-Russia forces operating in eastern Ukraine.
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 5,000 people have been killed in the fighting.