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13 September 2019, 20:01

Society

Kiev promises to finish Stanitsa bridge repairs by November 30 - Kobtseva

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LUGANSK, September 13 (Lugansk Media Centre) - Lugansk People’s Republic representative to the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup Olga Kobtseva said that Ukraine promised to complete the restoration of the ruined bridge section in Stanitsa Luganskaya by November 30.

“At the latest security subgroup video conference Ukraine pledged to launch a temporary conduit which it calls “bypass bridge” for pedestrian traffic, and keep the only crossing point with the LPR operating,” Kobtseva said.

“They (Ukraine) promise to restore the ruined section by November 16, and dismantle the temporary conduit by November 30. Consequently, we expect all Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge restoration works to be completed on November 30,” Kobtseva said.

Earlier, she said that Ukraine had not presented a detailed plan to restore the ruined section of the bridge.

Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Mark Etherington recently visited Stanitsa Luganskaya to inspect preliminary bridge restoration works.

Currently there is only one official checkpoint on the contact line in the Lugansk People’s Republic 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.

Kiev has disrupted the finalising the ICRC bridge restoration project from the very beginning of the discussion demanding that its width be limited in order to prevent the passage of armoured vehicles. The LPR repeatedly pointed out that the Ukrainian demands were ridiculous as the parameters proposed by the Republic (three metres in width and a load capacity of five tons) made military hardware traffic impossible, yet they met the minimum requirements for the passage of ambulances. Ambulance service is needed to a large incidence of people collapsing in queues and regular fatalities.

At the Contact Group meeting in Minsk on July 17, the LPR and Kiev representatives agreed on the Stanitsa bridge repair procedure which envisioned simultaneous repairs, with Ukraine restoring the stretch blown up by Kiev forces in 2015 and the LPR repairing the rest of the bridge. The parties also pledged to use the bridge for civilian purposes. The LPR said that it would view any unilateral actions by Kiev on the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge as an act of aggression. Kiev agreed that unilateral actions were inadmissible. Also, the Republic and Ukraine agreed not to stop the operation of the Stanitsa Luganskaya crossing point for the period of bridge repairs.

The bridge repair accord was reached after the disengagement of forces in Stanitsa Luganskaya in late June, which Kiev had failed more than 80 times. LPR and DPR representatives at a meeting in Minsk in September 2016 initialled a framework agreement on partial pullback of forces in Donbass, that was also signed by representatives of Ukraine, Russia and OSCE. The document provides for three security areas around Zolotoye, Stanitsa Luganskaya and Petrovskoe (DPR territory). The disengagement has been completed in all three areas by now; however, Kiev forces deploy manpower and hardware in Zolotoye and Petrovskoye areas in violation of the agreements.

The Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was adopted by the Contact Group on Ukraine on February 12, 2015 and supported by member states of the Normandy Four (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France). The UN Security Council approved the document by Resolution 2202 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.

LuganskMediaCentre — 13 September — Lugansk