The Kremlin says a change of leadership for Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine's eastern region of Luhansk will not affect the implementation of the Minsk peace agreements.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on November 27 that "continuity" remains, "especially on the issue of the implementation of the Minsk agreements" and on "initiatives" to exchange prisoners.
Separatist leader Igor Plotnitsky's resignation was announced by a website of the Luhansk-based separatists on November 24 in the midst of a fierce power struggle that unfolded over several days.
The website said Plotnitsky resigned for health reasons and that Leonid Pasechnik, the self-proclaimed security minister of the separatist formation, would be acting leader "until the next elections."
The website also announced on November 24 that Plotnitsky had been named as the separatists' representative to the Minsk process, which is aimed at resolving the conflict.
After occupying and illegally annexing Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014, Moscow began fomenting unrest in parts of eastern Ukraine.
Moscow has provided political, military, and economic support to separatists who gained control over parts of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, sparking a war that has killed more than 10,000 people since April 2014.
Moscow denies involvement in Ukraine's internal affairs, despite compelling evidence to the contrary.
Based on reporting by Interfax, TASS, Gazeta.ru, and RIA-Novosti