14 March 2019, 18:14



LPR views Kiev’s Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge statement as election spin - Kobtseva

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LUGANSK, March 14 (Lugansk Media Centre) - The statement by Kiev representative in the Contact Group Yevgeny Marchuk alleging Ukraine’s wish to restore a bridge span in Stanitsa Luganskaya on its own is a publicity move ahead of Ukraine’s March 31 presidential election, Lugansk People’s Republic representative in the humanitarian subgroup, head of the LPR working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva told the Lugansk Media Centre.

Earlier, Marchuk said that the Ukrainian authorities were ready to repair the bridge on the contact line in the Stanitsa Luganskaya area on the condition of truce, but that “Russia practically gives no ceasefire guarantees and refuses to negotiate a ceasefire trying to refocus Ukraine on direct talks with LPR and DPR representatives.”

According to the Ukrainian official, if “the Russian side and the LPR do not compromise on the bridge width and on how the bridge should be repaired, Ukraine is ready to begin the repairs unilaterally.” Marchuk said that Kiev wanted to make the bridge suitable for passenger traffic and vehicles with a load capacity under five tons to prevent its possible use for moving military hardware.

“These are absurd and far-fetched statements aimed at preventing the restoration of the ruined bridge,” Kobtseva said.

She reminded that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) presented a repair project in June 2017 suggesting a width of three meters to allow the passage of ambulances. The Ukrainian representatives, using far-fetched pretexts, did not agree to the ICRC proposal demanding that the width be 2.2 meters.

“Marchuk’s attempt to accuse Russia of not providing “ceasefire guarantees” and the failure to provide the opportunity to implement the ICRC project is a departure from Ukraine’s international commitments and a bid to sabotage the Minsk Agreements,” the LPR representative said.

“Ukraine’s statement alleging the readiness to repair the ruined bridge on the LPR-controlled territory has a double meaning, and it is a signal to the international community. We view Marchuk’s statement as an election spin and non-fulfilment of Ukraine’s international commitments, i.e. the Minsk Agreements,” Kobtseva said.

Earlier she said that on March 13, Ukraine made a new attempt to derail the meeting of the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup.

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.

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 — 14 March — Lugansk