Donetsk, Dec 20 – DAN. Kiev's undisguised indifference towards the peaceful settlement of the Donbass situation has hampered 2017 efforts in negotiations despite all the steps the DPR took to meet Ukraine halfway, said DPR acting Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova.

"This year's Contact Group last meeting in Minsk has proved Kiev totally lacks willingness to settle the conflict. Unfortunately, Kiev's counterproductive stance in 2017 hampered substantial progress in negotiations, despite our steps and even concessions made to achieve it – for example, the 'Steinmeier formula'," she said in a statement.

Nikonorova emphasized that Ukrainian authorities strongly avoid any direct dialog with Donbass Republics representatives. Kiev's attitude enjoys the support of some US curators who exacerbate Kiev's destructive actions rather than contribute to the soonest restoration of peace in Donbass, she added.

"Nevertheless, we are determined to protect and defend Donbass people interests on the designated international diplomatic platform, to seek the fulfillment of Kiev's obligations on their side in accordance with all Minsk package provisions," Nikonorova concluded.

The next round of peace talks is scheduled for 18 January 2018. *ot