5 October 2017, 19:00
Kiev blocks ICRC from participating in Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge repairs - Deinego
LUGANSK, October 5 (Lugansk Media Centre) - Ukraine is blocking International Committee of the Red Cross participation in restoring the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge, LPR envoy to Minsk talks, acting LPR Foreign Minister Vladislav Deinego told a news briefing at Lugansk Media Centre.
ICRC is ready to provide assistance in funding bridge restoration works and has already coordinated the repair project with LPR, but had been unable to secure Ukrainian representatives’ consent, Deinego said.
“The issue of coordinating bridge repairs with Ukraine remains deadlocked,” he said.
“Regrettably, we do not have enough funds to repair the bridge on our own without ICRC with Ukraine purposefully blocking ICRC involvement,” Deinego said, “and this despite the fact “everything is ready, all contractors stand by and we have funding.”
Ukraine said the project needed an additional study to make sure that the facility conformed to the 5th category requirements, vital for the population’s safety.
The diplomat said that Kiev’s actions challenged the professionalism of ICRC-recruited engineers who had prepared the project.
“Regrettably, no decision has been made up to date. Yet Ukraine keeps saying that we’ve been foiling bridge repairs and have not been working on its restoration,” Deinego said.
Earlier, OSCE SMM Principal Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug said that OSCE insisted on repairing the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge which residents of LPR and Kiev-held areas would use for unhindered crossing of the contact line.
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 here is possible thanks to temporary conduit, as the bridge was blown up by Ukrainian forces in early 2015. LPR has been continuously proposing to rebuild it.
The Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was adopted by the Contact Group on Ukraine on 12 February 2015 and supported by member states of the Normandy Four (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France). The UN Security Council approved the document by its 2202 Resolution and called upon all the sides to ensure full implementation of the Package of Measures.
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.
To facilitate the work of the Contact Group, four working groups were set up under its aegis to deal with issues of security, politics, return of internally displaced people and refuges, as well as with social, humanitarian, economic and rehabilitation issues.
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