Ukraine And Militants Continue A Standoff In Donetsk
People walk under a destroyed railroad bridge over a main road leading into the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine Monday. Kiev is calling on pro-Russian militants to disarm before holding peace talks. Dmitry Lovetsky/AP
Coming off of two victories this weekend, Ukraine is calling for pro-Russian separatists to lay down their arms in Donetsk before taking part in peace talks. Rebels in the city are reportedly preparing to resist Ukraine’s forces.
Plans for talks about a cease-fire are now in limbo, as President Petro Poroshenko and the militants also disagree on the location. From the AP:
“On Tuesday, the mayor of Donetsk issued a statement after a meeting with Poroshenko, saying the president suggested talks could take place in Svyatogorsk, a town in the north of the region.
“The insurgents would be unlikely to agree to Svyatogorsk, which is controlled by Kiev. ‘I don’t think we will go there. It’s not safe,’ rebel leader Alexander Borodai told Interfax news agency. He said locations acceptable to the rebels include Donetsk, Russia or Belarus.”
On Monday, three bridges were disabled on roads leading into Donetsk.
“It was unclear who was behind the explosions,” the BBC reports, “but Ukrainian media said the bridges were blown up by rebels as Ukraine’s military advanced.”
Over the weekend, Ukrainian troops took back the key cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk. The BBC says fighters who were driven out of those cities have now joined forces with their fellow militants in Donetsk.