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Kremlin Dismisses Back-Channel Ukrainian Peace Plan As 'Absurd'

February 21, 2017

The Kremlin has dismissed a Ukrainian peace plan created by a pro-Russian Ukrainian lawmaker and given to the White House, calling its provision on Crimea "absurd."

The plan by Ukrainian opposition lawmaker Andriy Artemenko, first reported by The New York Times, calls for Russia to withdraw its forces from eastern Ukraine and for Ukraine to hold a referendum on leasing Crimea, which Moscow illegally annexed in 2014, to Russia for a period of 50 or 100 years.

"How can Russia lease its own region? The very wording is rather absurd," Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on February 20.

"There is a general understanding that there is no alternative to the Minsk agreements," he said, referring to a 2015 plan that has so far has failed to bring peace.

"If a political-diplomatic solution can be found for the Ukraine issue, it is only possible on the basis of the Minsk agreements," he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov echoed Peskov's comments, telling RIA Novosti, "It is not possible to lease something from oneself."

The Times said President Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen hand-delivered the proposal to the office of former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was ousted last week.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and Interfax

Source: http://www.rferl.org/a/kremlin-dismisses- absurd-back-chanel-ukrainian-peace-plan-artemenk -flynn-cohen/28321744.html

Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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