Lavrov: Killing of rebel leader in Ukraine aimed against Minsk treaty | News | DW | 01.09.2018
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Lavrov: Killing of rebel leader in Ukraine aimed against Minsk treaty

The killing of rebel leader Zakharchenko is a provocation aimed at disrupting the peace process, said Russia's top diplomat, Sergey Lavrov. Talks involving Kyiv, Moscow, Berlin and Paris are currently "impossible."

Police officers stand near the site of coffee shop blast in Donetsk (picture-alliance/dpa/V. Sprinchak)

The blast that killed Zakharchenko destroyed part of a coffee shop in Donetsk

Moscow is analyzing the assassination of Alexander Zakharchenko, the commander of pro-Russian separatists and head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday.

The deadly Friday blast was "an open provocation, aimed at disrupting the fulfillment of the Minsk Accords," Lavrov told reporters, referring to the 2015 peace deal.

"Although, truth be told, the Ukrainian authorities were not fulfilling them anyway," Lavrov added.

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Ukraine separatist leader killed in explosion

While the peace process has pretty much stalled in recent months, the Minsk accords still serve as a road map for solving the conflict. Russia and Ukraine agreed on the treaty brokered by France and Germany, in what became known as the "Normandy format."

On Saturday, Lavrov said that Zakharchenko's assassination made it "impossible" to talk about such meetings for the time being, "despite many of our European partners wanting it."

A makeshift memorial to Zakharchenko at the site of Donetsk blast (picture-alliance/dpa/V. Sprinchak)

Residents of Donetsk laid flowers near the blast site in downtown Donetsk

Separatists blame Kyiv

Previously, Moscow said it had "all reasons to believe" Kyiv was behind the attack. Separatist leaders also announced that they have captured "Ukrainian operatives" following the blast in a coffee shop in downtown Donetsk.

Zakharchenko and one more person were killed in the blast, with several more injured, including the finance head of the so-called Donetsk Republic.

The entity has declared a three-day mourning period for the 42-year-old leader. Zakharchenko's deputy Dmitry Trapeznikov was named the acting president.

dj/rc (AFP, Reuters, Interfax)

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