Russia 'expects' Ukraine rebels to comply with OSCE roadmap
Russia said on Tuesday it expected pro-Moscow rebels to comply with the OSCE's roadmap for resolving the Ukraine crisis if Kiev authorities stop a military operation in the east and pull back troops.
"We expect leaders of the self-defence forces of the Donbass and Lugansk (regions) to react appropriately if Kiev takes these steps," the Russian foreign ministry said, adding it was "extremely important" to launch the roadmap as soon as possible.
The coal-mining area of Donbass includes parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
The Russian foreign ministry said Kiev had to immediately stop "reprisal raids" in the east and pull back troops from the encircled cities and towns.
"In accordance with the 'roadmap', it is necessary to free all political prisoners," it said, adding that Russia had demanded Kiev stop "intimidating civilians".
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) last week drew up the plan in an effort to help bring the pro-Western Kiev authorities and pro-Moscow militants in Ukraine to the negotiating table.
Moscow said it was also important to investigate all instances of violence in the east and south, first and foremost the clashes and fire in the southern city of Odessa that claimed at least 42 lives earlier this month.
"We call on the OSCE to secure agreement from Kiev authorities to fully cooperate on these issues," the foreign ministry said.
"The implementation of... the 'roadmap' would create conditions for the start of a broad national dialogue aimed at reconciliation and an all-encompassing constitutional reform designed to prevent the country from further sliding toward catastrophe."
© 2014 AFP