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10 November 2020, 20:33

Minsk-2

Society

Kiev’s unilateral opening of crossing points is provocation - Kobtseva

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LUGANSK, November 10 (Lugansk Media Centre) - Ukraine has staged a provocation by unilaterally opening its crossing points at the contact line in Schastye and Zolotoye, Lugansk People’s Republic representative in the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup, head of the LPR working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva said.

“On Tuesday morning, Ukraine violated its commitments as it opened the Lugansk-Schastye and Zolotoye crossing points to civilians,” Kobtseva said. “We regard it as provocation and dodging the commitments agreed with the Republics’ representatives. It was a deliberate move by Ukraine.”

She said that the unilateral opening of the new crossing points on November 10 did not take place as Kiev “failed to meet the obligations within the finalised road map.”  

The LPR representative said that Kiev, by making these moves “blatantly refused to fulfil the accords between Ukraine and the LPR.”

“Today, Ukraine unilaterally arranged the transportation of people to the contact line (in the Schastye area) contrary to the accords. Kiev’s actions show disrespect to the civilian population,” she said.

After the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup videoconference earlier in the day, subgroup coordinator for the OSCE Toni Frisch suggested that the parties list the “outstanding issues” for regulating the operation of the new crossing points, such as arrangements for the transportation of pedestrians to destinations between the LPR and Ukrainian crossing points in the Zolotoye area.

“It is necessary to discuss the bus route, the destination point and the U-turn point, how people will reach the crossing point, so these are the issues to be forwarded to Ukraine through the technical centre today; we hope that we’ll get the answers tomorrow in order to work out a consolidated position,” the LPR representative said.

Earlier, she said that the unilateral launching of new checkpoints by Kiev posed a risk to people as Ukraine had not coordinated with the DPR the rules for crossing the neutral zone and put up a checkpoint on the road leading to the crossing point in the Schastye area. Kobtseva also said that the headquarters of the so-called “Joint Forces Operation” had disseminated false information alleging that all all crossing points on the contact line would resume operation starting November 10.

The LPR began works to develop crossing points on the contact line in the Schastye and Zolotoye areas under the accords reached at the Minsk talks on July 11.

The Republic suggested opening the crossing point in the Schastye area back in 2017. The OSCE praised the initiative, but until recently Ukraine has been manipulating its commitments on the Schastye and Zolotoye checkpoins and slowing down the preparations for launching them.

Currently there is only one official checkpoint at the line of contact in the LPR area of responsibility in Donbass and it is accessible via the bridge in the vicinity of Stanitsa Luganskaya. Only pedestrian traffic was possible there thanks to temporary conduit, as the bridge was blown up by Ukrainian forces in early 2015. Kiev repeatedly rejected the bridge rebuilding proposals from the LPR and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the parties only agreed the beginning of repairs at the Contact Group meeting in Minsk in July 2019. Pedestrian traffic through the repaired section began on November 20, 2019, but the traffic of motor vehicles including ambulances is not possible because Kiev made the section much narrower in violation of the accords reached in Minsk. There are no checkpoints for cars on the contact line in the Lugansk region because of Kiev’s position. In addition to causing much inconvenience to regions of the region, it prevents the delivery of humanitarian cargos to the Republic by motor transport.

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.

LuganskMediaCentre — 10 November — Lugansk