24 March 2019, 12:55



OSCE SMM does not confirm reports on Zolotoye checkpoint opening - Deinego

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LUGANSK, March 24 (Lugansk Media Centre) – The OSCE SMM members have not confirmed Ukrainian reports on the Zolotoye checkpoint opening, said LPR Foreign Minister representing the Republic at Minsk talks Vladislav Deinego.

He arrived to the checkpoint area on Sunday and told journalists that "the SMM said they had not seen any opening activity, they do not confirm Ukrainian statement on the checkpoint opening. There are no ground to consider it opened."

Deinego said that the LPR contacted the SMM for the second time to double-check it. "The checkpoint on that side is non-operating".

There were contradictory reports coming from Ukrainian agencies on Sunday. The border guard service reported that the Zolotoye checkpoint was launched at 7.00 a.m. local time following the decision of the JFO commender Sergey Nayev. At around noon the text on Zolotoye was erased from the report.

Nevertheless, at approximately the same time Kiev's representative at the Minsk talks Irina Geraschenko said in her Facebook post that her colleague Evgeniy Marchuk was in contact with Nayev over the opening of the crossing point who said everything was ready, though the JFO press service previously announced on its Facebook page that it was not possible to open the Zolotoye checkpoint.

Ukraine's representative in the humanitarian group of the Contact Group Irina Geraschenko said on Friday, that Kiev plans to open the Zolotoye checkpoint on Sunday, March 24. Kiev's representative at the Contact Group Evgeniy Marchuk announced plans to begin repair works on the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge unilaterally.

LPR said that the unilateral opening or repairs are merely provocations and part of the election campaigning on the eve of the Ukrainian presidentialelection.

On October 20, 2017, Ukraine made a provocative attempt to unilaterally open the Zolotoye crossing point despite the LPR’s objections.

LPR Foreign Minister representing the Republic at Minsk talks Vladislav Deinego later said that LPR's condition is that the two crossing points in Schastye and Zolotoye be opened simultaneously. “For Lugansk and much of the LPR territory, it is far more important to open the crossing point via the bridge in Schastye, in terms of logistics and capacity,” the diplomat said.

He reminded that the Zolotoye checkpoint may be opened only after the withdrawal of forces from the Stanitsa Luganskaya sector.

Currently there is only one official checkpoint at the line of contact in LPR area of responsibility in Donbass and it is accessible via the bridge in the vicinity of Stanitsa Luganskaya. Only pedestrian traffic there is possible as a temporary wooden ramp has been installed over the collapsed sections of the bridge. The bridge sustained damage after it had been blown up by Ukrainian forces on March 19, 2015. LPR has been continuously proposing to rebuild it.

LuganskMediaCentre — 24 March — Lugansk