Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin believes that recent events in separatist-controlled Luhansk are not just a conflict between the leaders of the LPR but a dispute between Russian special services, reports Censor.NET.
"It's not only an internal dispute between these gangs; it's also a dispute between the relevant Russian special services. This very clearly proves that Russia controls everything in there. This is another argument for international cooperation," Klimkin said. Notably, he did not rule out provocations to restrict the activities of OSCE observers.
"We consider that there could be provocations as well and of course a threat to the civilian population, a threat to the Ukrainian citizens who live there. That’s why yesterday, a very serious discussion was held about possible options for action. I spoke with partners from the OSCE and the EU yesterday. Of course, we must also take care of the security of the OSCE SMM, because this situation could be used to limit the scope of their activities. The situation is very serious, we are closely observing it. It also proves 101% that everything that happens in the separatist-held territories is under the total control of the Russian Federation," Klimkin said.
On November 20, the leader of the LPR, Igor Plotnitsky dismissed "Minister of Internal Affairs" Igor Kornet because of "the initiation of a criminal case against him."
The confrontation between Plotnitsky and Kornet began in 2015 with the dispute regarding the influence on the oil market of the republic. In 2016, after the assassination attempt on Plotnitsky, the head of the republic announced the upcoming coup in the LPR and accused Kornet of doing nothing as the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
In autumn 2017, Plotnitsky publicly evicted Kornet from the mansion in the center of Luhansk, which Kornet had occupied.
On November 21, the center of Luhansk was cordoned off by armed people without insignia and Kornet released a statement on the Ministry of Internal Affairs website refuting his resignation and told the media about the arrests of people who are close associates of Plotnitsky.
Plotnitsky, in turn, said that Kornet's resignation indeed took place, and denied the arrest of his associates. In the evening, a column of military vehicles entered Luhansk and reports appeared in the separatist media that Plotnitsky had fled to Russia.
On the morning of November 22, a video appeared on the website of the leader of the LPR and on YouTube channel of Luhansk separatists, where Plotnitsky is holding a meeting with the new head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the LPR, Vladimir Cherkov.