Ukraine’s Talks With Separatists Yield No Deal as Clashes Flare

Talks between separatist officials and representatives of Ukraine’s military ended in Donetsk without an agreement as the authorities in Kiev accused rebels of reinforcing their positions in the country’s east.

The negotiations will continue on Dec. 31 in Luhansk, another rebel-held stronghold in eastern Ukraine, a news website run by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, known by its Russian abbreviation DAN, reported, citing a local official it didn’t identify. The talks focused on a cease-fire, a prisoner swap, pulling back heavy weapons and implementing peace agreements, it said.

“All sides, including Moscow, remain called upon to use their influence on the parties constructively and by doing so make an important contribution to the stabilization of the situation,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement. The exchange of prisoners is “an encouraging and important signal,” he said.

The belligerents are coming under increasing pressure to implement agreements reached in September in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, to stop the monthslong conflict. Pro-Russian rebels are using the cease-fire to regroup and reinforce their positions, military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said in Kiev.

One Ukrainian soldier has been killed in the past 24 hours, according to Lysenko. Several columns of trucks delivered ammunition to separatists in last three days, he said.

The country’s dollar bonds maturing in 2017 dropped, sending the yield to 30.48 percent. The hryvnia strengthened 0.3 percent against the dollar as of 2:02 p.m. in Kiev.

More Pressure

Germany wants Russia to exert more pressure on rebels in Ukraine to honor the September truce accord, Christiane Wirtz, a spokeswoman for the government in Berlin, said at a news conference today.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Interfax that the “internal Ukrainian crisis” will continue until the people of Ukraine reach an agreement among themselves without cues from Brussels and Washington.

Last week’s bombings in Ukrainian cities Odessa, Kherson, Kharkiv sought to destabilize the country, Ukrainian State Security Service adviser Markiyan Lubkivsky said in an interview on Hromadske TV. The attacks can be traced to Russia’s FSB security service, its special operations forces and Ukrainian “traitors,” he said.

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