25 October 2019, 15:35



Kiev's claims on Schastye checkpoint opening part of its PR campaign

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LUGANSK, October 25 (Lugansk Media Centre) – Kiev's claims on opening a crossing point in Schastye are part of their PR campaign, said LPR representative in the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup Olga Kobtseva.

Earlier Ukrainian parliamentarians visited Donbass and arrived at the contact line. Following the trip MPs said that they had considered opening of a crossing point in Schastye. An aide of the Ukrainian Security Council secretary Sergey Sivokho said that the proposal came after deputies saw with their own eyes how challenging it was for local population  to travel to the check point in Stanitsa Luganskaya and cross the contact line there.

"This is a PR move," said Kobtseva.

"We and international agencies on human rights such as UN bodies have been drawing attention to the problems at the crossing point for some time. But Ukrainian parliamentarians present it as their achievement though they ignored the problem earlier."

LPR first suggested opening a checkpoint in Schastye in September 2017. Ukraine insisted on opening the second checkpoint in Zolotoye despite a critical security situation there.

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.

From the very beginning, Kiev has disrupted the finalising the bridge restoration project proposed by the International Committee of the Red Cross,  as it demanded 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. Earlier, LPR Head Leonid Pasechnik said  that the Republic would view any unilateral actions by Kiev on the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge as an act of aggression. Kiev agreed that unilateral actions were inadmissible. LPR Foreign Minister Vladislav Deinego said that the Republic and Ukraine had 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.

LuganskMediaCentre — 25 October — Lugansk