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26 May 2020, 16:33

Minsk-2

Society

Kiev tries to take crossing points issue off humanitarian subgroup’s agenda - Kobtseva

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LUGANSK, May 26 (Lugansk Media Centre) - Kiev representatives at the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup video conference on Tuesday tried to move the discussion over new crossing points into the security subgroup, Lugansk People’s Republic representative to the humanitarian subgroup, head of the LPR working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva said.

The Ukrainian side “showed absolutely unconstructive” position at the videoconference talks, Kobtseva said.

“They (Ukrainian representatives) avoided negotiating accords on (detainee) release or launching new crossing points,” she said. "They avoided accords on all the agenda isems and tried to transfer the issue of opening new crossing points to the security group.”

“This is how (Ukrainian President Vladimir) Zelensky lied during his press conference (in Kiev on May 20) regarding the implementation of the Minsk agreements; Ukraine took the same position at today’s humanitarian subgroup’s talks,” Kobtseva said.

Instead of discussing important issues, Ukraine tried to introduce additional topics that had nothing to do with the Minsk Agremeets.

“They (Ukraine) tried to erode the group’s work by introducing new issssues for discussion, for example, by ushering Mrs (Ukrainin parliaiment ombudswoman Lyudmila) Denisova in the group to discuss the handover of persons convicted before the conflict, although this issue has nothing to do with the Minsk Agreements,” the LPR representative said.

Earlier, she said that Ukraine had said that it was not ready to discuss the opening of new crossing points on the contact line.

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. Kiev repeatedly rejected bridge restoration proposals by the LPR and the International Committee of the Red Cross. It was only at the Contact Group meeting in Minsk on July 17 j2019 that the parties agreed on the reconstruction project with Ukraine promising to restore the stretch blown up by Kiev forces in 2015 and the LPR repairing the rest.

Kiev reopened pedestrian traffic along the restored bridge section on November 20, 2019. The bridge width in the Ukrainian section amounted to less than three meters which is at odds with the accords reached at the Minsk talks. In emergency, this section will not provide for full-fledged operation of ambulance service which is needed due to a large incidence of people collapsing in queues and regular fatalities.

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.

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 — 26 May — Lugansk