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19 November 2020, 20:55

Minsk-2

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Schastye, Zolotoye crossing points don’t operate due to Kiev’s destructive position - Kobtseva

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LUGANSK, November 19 (Lugansk Media Centre) - The new crossing points on the contact line in the Schastye and Zolotoye areas do not operate due to Kiev’s destructive position, Lugansk People’s Republic representative in the Contact Group humanitarian subgroup Olga Kobtseva said at a press briefing at the Lugansk Media Centre.

“We can say with confidence that the crossing points are not operating today due to the destructive position taken by Ukraine. Ukraine never wanted to open the crossing points,” Kobtseva said following the extraordinary video conference of the humanitarian subgroup which took place earlier on Thursday.

Kiev officials at the Minsk talks had said that they were ready to take part in extraordinary sessions of the Contact Group subgroups on security, political and humanitarian issues. Ukraine suggested discussing the operation of the crossing points, prisoner swaps and mine clearance. However, LPR representative at the Minsk talks, the Republic’s Foreign Minister Vladislav Deinego said that Kiev had not sent any documents for discussion by the subgroups. Deinego said that Kiev had the mass media announce extraordinary meetings of three of the four Contact Group subgroups, but it “de facto requested only two such meetings.”

Ukraine has not worked out its position on simultaneous opening of the crossing point; it attempted to take half measures to initiate, as they’ve called it today, the urgent launching of the crossing points,” Kobtseva said at the video conference.

Ukraine “again renounced the accord within the agreed road map (approved) in March 2020,” she said.

“Therefore, we observe the incapacity and inefficiency of Ukrainian representatives in implementing the accords reached by the humanitarian group. Today, the parties focused on one issue only, i.e. the opening of the Lugansk-Schastye and Pervomaisk-Zolotoye crossing points; following the two-hour session, they failed to reach any productive solutions or compromise,” the LPR representative said.

Ukraine failed to reach a compromise with the LPR in technical issues concerning the operation of the crossing points, such as bus routes, rules of movement in the neutral zone, and the presence of representatives of the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC), she added.

“We offered measures which are already in use between Donetsk and Ukraine; we haven’t offered anything new, just the working experience at Stanitsa Luganskaya, namely the presence of JCCC representatives. Ukraine, with its experience in running car checkpoints and transportation of people by bus in the grey zone was unable to confirm its own requirements at the talks with the Lugansk People’s Republic. It was a real collapse,” Kobtseva said.

Unilateral launching of new checkpoints by Kiev poses a risk to people as Ukraine had not coordinated with the LPR the rules for crossing the neutral zone; also it put up a checkpoint on the road leading to the crossing point in the Schastye area, she said.

The LPR representative 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 on November 10.

Currently there is only one official checkpoint on contact line in the LPR area of responsibility in Donbass and it is accessible via the bridge in vicinity of Stanitsa Luganskaya. Only pedestrian traffic was possible there thanks to temporary conduit, as the bridge had been 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 it was only possible to agree on the beginning of repairs at the Contact Group meeting in Minsk in July 2019. Pedestrian traffic along 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 residents 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 — 19 November — Lugansk