16 February 2021, 16:27



Kiev doesn’t confirm readiness for simultaneous opening of new checkpoints - Kobtseva

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LUGANSK, February 16 (Lugansk Media Centre) - Ukrainian representatives at the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup video conference on Tuesday did not confirm readiness for simultaneous opening of the new crossing points “Lugansk-Schastye” and “Pervomaisk-Zolotoye,” Lugansk People’s Republic representative in the subgroup on humanitarian issues, head of the LPR working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva said.

“We’ve heard today that Ukraine is not ready for simultaneous opening of the crossing points,” Kobtseva said. “On behalf of the LPR, I stated that we were ready to open the crossing points as early as today, that a humanitarian aid convoy was moving towards “Lugansk-Schastye” and that civilian traffic was on the way to “Pervomaisk-Zolotoye;” Ukraine had to provide buses for civilians to move through the grey zone. However, Ukraine has not stated its readiness.”

She said that the checkpoints on the Ukrainian side were “open only on the strength of Ukrainian representatives’ allegations.”

Earlier Kobtseva said that Ukraine had deliberately sabotaged the opening of the new crossing points in the Schastye and Zolotoye areas.

In March 2020, the LPR and Kiev agreed to set up two new crossing points on the contact line in the Schastye and Zolotoye areas; the works on the facilities were launched in July. Having failed to coordinate the key points of the crossing points’ operation, including security issues, Ukraine unilaterally opened them on November 10. The Republic called the move a provocation and a threat to the persons who cross the contact line and demanded that Kiev begin a dialogue to resolve the problems and launch full-fledged operation of the crossing points. Currently there is only one official checkpoint on contact line in the LPR area of responsibility in Donbass and it is accessible via the bridge in the vicinity of Stanitsa Luganskaya.

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.

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.

LuganskMediaCentre — 16 February — Lugansk