19 November 2020, 14:40


Humanitarian subgroup to hold extraordinary video conference on Thursday - Kobtseva

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LUGANSK, November 19 (Lugansk Media Centre) - The Contact Group humanitarian subgroup plans to hold an extraordinary video conference on Thursday, Lugansk People’s Republic representative in the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup, head of the LPR working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva said at a press briefing at the Lugansk Media Centre.

“A video conference (of the Contact Group’s subgroup on humanitarian issues) is planned for today; it will take place at 15:00, Moscow time,” Kobtseva said.  “We hope that we’ll be able to formalise the accords which we reached with Ukraine and launch the operation of the crossing points (on the contact line in the Schastye and Zolotoye areas).”

Earlier, Kiev representatives at the Minsk talks said they were ready to take part in extraordinary meetings of the Contact Group subgroups on security, political and humanitarian issues. Ukraine suggested discussing the operation of the crossing points, prisoner swaps and mine clearance. The previous Contact Group video conference took place on November 11, and the next is scheduled for November 25.

Previously, Kobtseva said that Ukraine had been blocking the launching of transport corridor for delivering humanitarian aid to the LPR.

She said that the simultaneous opening of the new crossing points in Schastye and Zolotoye on November 10 did not take place as Kiev “did not meet the commitments within the finalised road map.” Unilateral launching of new checkpoints by Kiev poses a risk to people as Ukraine had not coordinated with the LPR the rules for crossing the neutral zone and put up a checkpoint on the road leading to the crossing point in the Schastye area. Kobtseva also said that the headquarters of the so-called “Joint Forces Operation” had disseminated false information alleging that all all crossing points on the contact line would resume operation on November 10.

Currently there is only one official checkpoint at the line of contact in LPR area of responsibility in Donbass and it is accessible via the bridge in vicinity of Stanitsa Luganskaya. Only pedestrian traffic was possible there thanks to temporary conduit, as the bridge had been blown up by Ukrainian forces in early 2015. Kiev repeatedly rejected the bridge rebuilding proposals from the LPR and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and it was only possible to agree on the beginning of repairs at the Contact Group meeting in Minsk in July 2019. Pedestrian traffic along the repaired section began on November 20, 2019, but the traffic of motor vehicles including ambulances is not possible because Kiev made the section much narrower in violation of the accords reached in Minsk. There are no checkpoints for cars on the contact line in the Lugansk region because of Kiev’s position. In addition to causing much inconvenience to regions of the region, it prevents the delivery of humanitarian cargos to the Republic by motor transport.

The Ukrainian government launched the so-called anti-terrorist operation against Donbass in April 2014. Conflict settlement relies on the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, signed on February 12, 2015 in the Belarussian capital by the Contact Group members and coordinated by the Normandy Four heads of states (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine). The UN Security Council approved the document by Resolution No 2202 of February 17, 2015 and called upon the parties to ensure its implementation.

The document provides for comprehensive ceasefire, withdrawal of all heavy weapons from the contact line, starting a dialog on reconstruction of social and economic ties between Kiev and Donbass. It also envisages carrying out constitutional reform in Ukraine providing for decentralization and adopting permanent legislation on a special status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

LuganskMediaCentre — 19 November — Lugansk