Rinat Akhmetov and Vladimir Lukin

While the Kremlin continued to express “concern” that, with the launch of Ukraine’s anti-terrorist operation in Sloviansk, they had lost contact with diplomat Vladimir Lukin in Ukraine, it turns out Putin’s representative was visiting Rinat Akhmetov at his luxurious residence in Donetsk.

According to the news source ZN.UA, Vladimir Lukin, Putin’s senior representative who in March 2014 became the Human Rights Commissioner for the Russian Federation, stopped at the luxurious residence of Rinat Akhmetov, which is located in the Botanic Gardens. Apparently he had arrived in Donetsk on an unofficial visit the day before. Moreover, Friday evening, May 2, he attended the Shakhtar-Illichivets soccer match at the Donbas Arena stadium as a guest of Akhmetov.

As a reminder, on Friday morning, May 2, it was learned that Lukin had arrived in Donetsk on a chartered plane. However, it would hardly be possible to call his visit official, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation claims, since, contrary to protocol, it was not reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

Furthermore, that day, in response to Ukraine’s anti-terrorist operations in Sloviansk, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, announced with great emotion on the Russia 24 news channel that all contact with Lukin supposedly had been lost with the beginning of the anti-terrorist operation. In turn, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation announced that Lukin’s mission (to negotiate the release of OSCE hostages in Sloviansk – Ed.) “is being threatened” and demanded that “all necessary measures be taken to ensure the security of the Russian representative.”

However, Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Andriy Deshchytsia said that he had had a telephone conversation with Lukin during the day and had proposed to help him with his mission. According to Deshchytsia, Lukin himself called his visit to Donetsk “private.”

As previously reported, Lukin represented Putin during negotiations between Yanukovych and Maidan on February 20 as an intermediary from the Russian Federation. He left Ukraine without signing the agreement reached at the time. Russia is now strongly blaming the Ukrainian government for the “failure” of this agreement.

Translated by Anna Mostovych

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