Pro-Russian rebel announces new Ukraine offensive, no talks

A TOP Ukrainian separatist leader said Friday he would not push for new peace talks with Kiev and warned that his forces were launching a new offensive to expand their control.

“Our side will no longer push for any more truce talks,” Donetsk rebel chief Alexander Zakharchenko said in comments published on a Ukrainian separatist website.

“We are going to advance to the very border of Donetsk province,” he added in reference to parts of the war-torn east still under government control.

His comments came two days after peace talks in Berlin saw the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine agree to try to arrange new negotiations between Kiev and separatist commanders in the coming days.

Donetsk militias are riding a string of recent successes that include the ouster of Ukrainian forces from a disputed airport on the city’s outskrits earlier this week.

Zakharchenko said any new negotiations with Kiev would only concern prisoner swaps.

“Everything happening in the Donetsk People’s Republic reflects the will of the people,” he said using the insurgents’ title for their self-proclaimed state.

“We were born here and raised here, and we will fight for our land.”

Kiev has long argued that rebel units are comprised mostly of Russian nationals who are both feared and mistrusted by a predominant majority of the region’s residents.

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