Kiev's statments on Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge "unrealistic" - Deinego
LUGANSK, July 8 (Lugansk Media Centre) – Kiev’s statements on willingness to repair the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge are “unrealistic”, said LPR Foreign Minister representing the Republic at Minsk talks Vladislav Deinego.
“These were unrealistic intentions,’ he said.
“Currently, the LPR Council of Ministers is developing a plan to reconstruct the bridge in accordance with the ICCC project on its own and finance it if necessary.”
“We’ll try to finalize (the repairs) as soon as possible. The relatively calm situation following the disengagement in this area gives us a chance to perform the necessary works in a stable environment so that people can comfortably walk this distance.”
“Kiev’s statements that it’s ready to embark on the repairs are just a publicity stunt. In Minsk, we’ve been trying to figure out what Ukraine has been talking about, which 60 mln euros for the project the press has been talking about, whether this project exists at all,” he said. “All we got from the Ukrainian side were reassurances that everything will be fine, this will be a good, nice, comfortable bridge.”
Deinego said that the sum of 60 mln euros was too large for the bridge under discussion.
“It is either about siphoning the European money off, or some other schemes to utilize another humanitarian tranche.”
Back in 2015 amidst active military action in the region that followed the 2014 coup-d'etat in Kiev the bridge had been blown up by the Ukrainian armed forces. Soon, in early April LPR volunteers installed a wooden ramp over its collapsed part to make it possible for civilians to cross the river.
Soon after, Ukraine introduced a checkpoint system at the contact line and the only Ukraine-LPR crossing point has been established at the two sides of the bridge.
The LPR has been calling on Ukraine and humanitarian organizations to restore it ever since.
In September 2016 it was announced that the ICRC and the UN, and OSCE had expressed intention to finance the repairs, and by 2017 the ICRC has already developed a project for the reconstruction.
Still, only the repairs of a temporary wooden construction were completed in 2017.
In 2018, the ICRC reminded that having a safer bridge outside Stanitsa Luganskaya used by thousands people daily to cross the contact line is an urgent humanitarian need as dozens of civilians had died over several years queueing for hours at the bridge to get from one checkpoint to another.
In April 2019 the Coordinator of the Humanitarian working group from the OSCE Ambassador Toni Frisch said that the reconstruction of the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge was being obstructed by the disagreement of the sides on its width as the LPR wanted a 3-meter wide structure for ambulance passage while Ukraine refused to install a bridge wider than 2 meters. Ukraine explained its position by fears that a wider bridge would allow military equipment to cross the river and enter Stanitsa Luganskaya. The LPR dismissed such approach as absurd as 5-ton load capacity does not make the bridge available for military hardware.
LuganskMediaCentre — 08 July — Lugansk