31 July 2019, 21:53



Deinego following Minsk: Sides agree to synchronic demining in Stanitsa Luganskaya area

Full statement (in Russian)

July 31 (Lugansk Media Centre) – LPR and Ukraine have agreed to carry out mine clearance operations in the Stanitsa Luganskaya area synchronically to ensure safe access to the bridge that has to be repaired.

"Mine clearance is to take place at the ruined bridge itself, and at the 125 meter long stretches of land on both sides of the bridge and along the road at the Ukrainian side," said LPR Foreign Minister representing the Republic at Minsk talks Vladislav Deinego.

Demining is to last several hours per day so that the pedestrian traffic is not brought to a halt for too long.

The OSCE SMM shall assist in harmonizing the checkpoint schedule that shall be made available to public.

Back in 2015 amidst active military action in the region that followed the 2014 coup-d'etat in Kiev the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge had been blown up by the Ukrainian armed forces. Soon, in early April LPR volunteers installed a wooden ramp over its collapsed part to make it possible for civilians to cross the river.

Soon after, Ukraine introduced a checkpoint system at the contact line and the only Ukraine-LPR crossing point has been established at the two sides of the bridge.

The LPR has been calling on Ukraine and humanitarian organizations to restore it ever since.

In September 2016 it was announced that the ICRC and the UN, and OSCE had expressed intention to finance the repairs, and by 2017 the ICRC has already developed a project for the reconstruction.

Still, only the repairs of a temporary wooden construction were completed in 2017.

In 2018, the ICRC reminded that having a safer bridge outside Stanitsa Luganskaya used by thousands people daily to cross the contact line is an urgent humanitarian need as dozens of civilians had died over several years queueing for hours at the bridge to get from one checkpoint to another.

In April 2019 the Coordinator of the Humanitarian working group from the OSCE Ambassador Toni Frisch said that the reconstruction of the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge was being obstructed by the disagreement of the sides on its width as the LPR wanted a 3-meter wide structure for ambulance passage while Ukraine refused to install a bridge wider than 2 meters. Ukraine explained its position by fears that a wider bridge would allow military equipment to cross the river and enter Stanitsa Luganskaya. The LPR dismissed such approach as absurd as 5-ton load capacity does not make the bridge available for military hardware.

LuganskMediaCentre — 31 July — Lugansk