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4 September 2019, 17:58

MILITARY&DEFENCE

OSCE monitors see for themselves that LPR’s Stanitsa bridge post is not a fortification - JCCC

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LUGANSK, September 4 (Lugansk Media Centre) - OSCE Special Monitoring Mission personnel verified that the Lugansk People’s Republic post on the Stanitsa bridge was a monitoring facility that did not meet the parameters for a fortification, the LPR Office at the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination said.

The JCCC reported a calm situation in Stanitsa Luganskaya’s ruined bridge area throughout Wednesday. LPR and Ukrainian specialists were cleaning up the bridge premises in their respective areas.

“The repair and restoration works were monitored by OSCE SMM personnel who saw for themselves that the LPR observation post did not meet the parameters for a fortification and that it was only intended for round-the-clock monitoring of the situation and assisting both LPR and Ukrainian specialists,” the JCCC reported.

It also said that it hoped that the Contact Group would have a productive discussion of the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge situation and that Ukraine was willing to reach an accord on further actions towards stepping up the repairs.

Earlier, chief specialist of engineering and demining department of the LPR Emergencies Ministry Dmitry Kabyschenko said that the LPR completed the dismantling of its fortifications on the bridge.

LPR engineers finished the mine clearance operation in the area on August 16. The demining began on August 1.

The Republic launched the dismantling of LPR militia fortifications in the bridge area on August 23.

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.The LPR has been continuously proposing to rebuild it.

Kiev has disrupted the finalising the ICRC bridge restoration project from the very beginning of the discussion demanding 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 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. The LPR repeatedly said that it would view any unilateral actions by Kiev on the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge as an act of aggression. Kiev agreed that unilateral actions were inadmissible. The Republic and Ukraine said that they would not 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, which Kiev had failed more than 80 times. LPR and DPR representatives at a meeting in Minsk in September 2016 initialled a framework agreement on partial pullback of forces in Donbass, that was also signed by representatives of Ukraine, Russia and OSCE. The document provides for three security areas around Zolotoye, Stanitsa Luganskaya and Petrovskoe (DPR territory). The disengagement has been completed in all three areas by now; however, Kiev forces deploy manpower and hardware in Zolotoye and Petrovskoye areas in violation of the agreements.

LuganskMediaCentre — 04 September — Lugansk